Friday, September 30, 2011

Ogden, Utah police first-in-nation to use surveillance blimp

The police chief in Ogden, Utah, said the city could launch a surveillance blimp by Christmas as part of the city’s crime-fighting efforts. The 54-foot-long craft will be equipped multiple cameras and operated by pilots via remote control. It would run for five to seven hours at a time at an altitude of around 400 feet. Nobody else in the nation is trying to do this, so the FAA has no regulations for it,” said Police Chief Jon Greiner. The Standard-Examiner reports that the FAA recently approved the first step of the blimp proposal, a 25-page administrative application — but that this is only the first of five steps before the police would be allowed to use the blimp. FAA officials will visit Ogden at some point to view the blimp in action...more

I've already posted how I'm gonna get rich with the DuBois Drone Destroyer.  Well this is a much bigger target and with just a minor alteration you can have a Bye Bye Blimp Bumper mounted on your pickup.  Cowboys will be safe in town too!

Al Gore: U.S. Democracy ‘Hacked’ by Anti-Warming Special Interests

Democracy in the U.S. is being undermined by Congress appeasing special interest groups in return for campaign funding rather than tackling climate change, former vice president and global warming campaigner Al Gore has told a conference in Scotland. According to the BBC, Gore staffers blocked broadcast access to Wednesday’s speech. But British media quoted from the address to the Scottish government-sponsored Low Carbon Investment Conference in Edinburgh. The BBC said Gore’s speech included “a strong attack on the effect of lobbying and money-raising on the U.S. Congress, and on carbon producers who he said employ four Washington lobbyists for every member of Congress.” “In the language of computer culture, our democracy has been hacked,” the Guardian quoted him as telling the audience, which included Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. Citing flooding in Pakistan, China and elsewhere, Gore argued that extreme weather patterns were directly attributable to climate change, and that scientists overwhelmingly backed that viewpoint...more

Report: EPA cut corners on climate finding

The Obama administration cut corners before concluding that climate-change pollution can endanger human health, a key finding underpinning costly new regulations, an internal government watchdog said Wednesday. Regulators and the White House disagreed with the finding, and the report itself did not question the science behind the administration’s conclusions. Still, the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general is sure to encourage industry lawyers, global warming doubters in Congress and elsewhere, and Republicans taking aim at the agency for what they view as an onslaught of job-killing environmental regulations. The report said EPA should have followed a more extensive review process for a technical paper supporting its determination that greenhouse gases pose dangers to human health and welfare, a finding that ultimately compelled it to issue controversial and expensive regulations to control greenhouse gases for the first time. "While it may be debatable what impact, if any, this had on EPA’s finding, it is clear that EPA did not follow all the required steps," Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins Jr. said in a statement Wednesday...more

Obama Official: Despite Failures, ‘U.S. Can’t Afford’ Not to Subsidize Green Tech

Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said that in a global race for green technology, the United States “can’t afford” not to spend taxpayer money on such projects, and that the price of that spending is an occasional failure. One of those failures was a $535-million federal loan guarantee to the Solyndra company that makes solar panels but which recently filed for bankruptcy. “The U.S. can’t afford to not be a major winner in this race,” Blank said Thursday on a conference call with reporters. “That necessarily means that there’s going to be some capital investment by the U.S. government. But it is new technology and that means that there is sometimes risks.” “Make no mistake, that when you’re in a new innovation race of the sort that we are with every other advanced country in the world you are always out there on the cutting edge,” she said, “and that involves both big returns but sometimes involves some risks [of failure] as well.”...more

"global race for green technology"

When did that race start?

Obama Administration Expanding Reach of Endangered Species Act to Hundreds of Plants, Animals

The Obama administration is taking steps to extend new federal protections to a list of imperiled animals and plants that reads like a manifest for Noah's Ark -- from the melodic golden-winged warbler and slow-moving gopher tortoise, to the slimy American eel and tiny Texas kangaroo rat. Compelled by a pair of recent legal settlements, the effort in part targets species that have been mired in bureaucratic limbo even as they inch toward potential extinction. With a Friday deadline to act on more than 700 pending cases, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service already has issued decisions advancing more than 500 species toward potential new protections under the Endangered Species Act. Observers said the agency's actions mark a breakthrough for a program long criticized by conservatives and liberals alike as cumbersome and slow. "Here at a single glance, you see the sweep of the Endangered Species Act," said Patrick Parenteau, an environmental law professor at the University of Vermont. "They are moving through this large backlog at a fairly crisp clip now. This is the largest number of listing actions we've seen in a very long time, in decades."...more

Ken Salazar aims to broker compromises on conservation vs. drilling

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar swooped through Western hot spots this week trying to forge compromises as a century-old struggle intensifies over protecting pristine public lands versus leaving them open to development. Pressure to drill for oil and gas is mounting. A surge of proposals to protect millions of acres as wilderness or "national conservation areas" also is gaining momentum. There are signs that powerful industry lobbyists might be relaxing their opposition to conservation plans that the Obama administration is expected to push in Congress next month. "I'm optimistic that we're going to find more and more places where we have conservationists and local communities and industry coming together," Salazar said in an interview after hiking through black brush and snake weed to inspect red-rock canyonlands near Moab. "You can't do oil and gas development everywhere. There are some places that should be off-limits," Salazar said. "In those places where you do oil and gas development, companies need to know we are going to insist on them using the best practices." Starting Tuesday in Denver, Salazar surveyed Castle Peak and Flattops-area parcels covering 47,000 acres in northwest Colorado — east of the contested energy-rich Roan Plateau — with an eye to political feasibility. He then focused on Utah, where more than 350,000 acres of public lands are deemed suitable as wilderness, and New Mexico, where about 3 million acres are eyed...more

Interior's Wild Horse Chief Strongly Denies Claims of 'Extinction' Management

The Interior Department's wild horse and burro chief today assured critics that her agency is not selling horses for slaughter and has no intention of overseeing their extinction. Joan Guilfoyle, division chief for the Bureau of Land Management's wild horse and burro program, said a mix of fertility control and herd gathers is critical to maintaining a healthy balance on the range, but that extinction is not in the agency's bailiwick. "The mission is for wild free-roaming horses and burros to be a continuing living legacy of the American heritage," Guilfoyle said today in a speech to the International Equine Conference in Alexandria, Va. "Extinction is by no means on our agenda." She added that BLM sells horses only to those who have pledged to treat them humanely and not sell them for slaughter. "As a matter of fact, BLM prosecutes people who do that," said Guilfoyle...more

Wildfire Lawsuit Settled

The federal government's lawsuit against Southern California Edison and San Bernardino County over the 2007 Grass Valley Fire has been settled for $9.6 million, setting the stage for a suit by homeowners to begin next March. In a pair of agreements announced last Friday, Edison pledged to pay $9 million to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to repay the costs of fighting the Oct. 22, 2007, fire, which destroyed 174 homes, burned 1,247 acres and damaged 25 additional houses. A second lawsuit, filed by insurance companies on behalf of Grass Valley homeowners, was also settled recently, though the details of that settlement were not immediately available. In the federal case, the county's insurance company agreed to pay $600,000 to the USFS as part of the settlement, said David Wert, a county spokesman. That amount, he said, was what the company calculated it would cost the county to go to trial. The Grass Valley Fire-which along with the Slide Fire in Running Springs was one of two major wild fires that erupted on the mountain virtually simultaneously-was triggered when a tree allegedly on county right of way fell onto Edison power lines near the utility's Deer Lodge Park substation. The U.S. Attorney's office sued Edison on behalf of the USFS, alleging the tree was dangerous because it leaned toward the power lines and was growing on a slope so that its roots did not adequately support it. Despite the county's agreeing to settle, Wert contends the tree was not on land for which the county was responsible...more

Broomfield girl, 3, bitten by coyote in backyard; 3rd attack this year

A toddler was bitten by a coyote in Anthem this week, police said Tuesday, bringing the number of attacks on neighborhood children this year to three. The most recent incident happened around 7:30 p.m. Monday in a section of Anthem just east of the community center, according to Broomfield police. A family was in their yard, which backs up to open space, when a coyote came through a split-beam fence and bit a 3-year-old girl on the knee, police said. The girl screamed, and the coyote ran away. The child was treated for minor injuries at an urgent care center. Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said officers are searching for the animal responsible for the attack, and it will be killed if found. Two other children have been bitten by coyotes this summer in Anthem -- one in July and one in August -- prompting officers to kill nine animals...more

HT: Outdoor Press Room

Chicago Elementary School Teacher Accused of Weapons Possession for Demonstrating Use of Tools in Classroom Gets 4-day Suspension

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute are appealing the four-day suspension of a Chicago public school teacher who was charged with possessing, carrying, storing or using a weapon after he displayed garden-variety tools such as wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers in his classroom as part of his second grade teaching curriculum that required a "tool discussion." Despite the fact that all potentially hazardous items were kept out of the students' reach, school officials at Washington Irving Elementary School informed Doug Bartlett, a 17-year veteran in the classroom, that his use of the tools as visual aids endangered his students. In addition to being penalized with a four-day suspension without pay, Bartlett was informed that the disciplinary action would be voted on by the Board of Education at a later date. Coming to Bartlett's defense in August 2011, Institute attorneys had warned the school that disciplinary action under these circumstances could constitute a violation of Bartlett's Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. The Rutherford Institute's letter to Washington Irving Elementary School officials in defense of Doug Bartlett is available here. "The charges against Doug Bartlett are absurd—a gross overreaction to a simple teaching demonstration—and underscore exactly what is wrong with zero tolerance policies in the schools," said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. "School officials should know better than to impose such draconian punishments for innocent actions. Commonplace, basic tools such as wrenches and pliers used as part of a classroom exercise are clearly not weapons. Education truly suffers when school administrators exhibit such poor judgment and common sense."...more

Teacher penalizes students for saying "bless you" after a sneeze

A Northern California teacher says he doesn't want to hear a common courtesy in his classroom. He's even lowering students' grades if they say "bless you" after someone sneezes. Steve Cuckovich says the practice is disrespectful and disruptive. He's banned saying "bless you" in his high school health class in Vacaville. He even knocked 25 points from one student's grade for saying the phrase in class. Cuckovich says the policy has nothing to do with religion, but says the phrase is just a outdated practice and disrupts class time. "When you sneezed in the old days, they thought you were dispelling evil spirits out of your body," Cuckovich said. "So they were saying, 'god bless you' for getting rid of evil spirits. But today, I said what you're doing doesn't really make any sense anymore."...more

Here's the KSFN-TV report:

Turquoise ProRodro gets started

The Turquoise ProRodeo Circuit Finals got under way Thursday night giving fans plenty to cheer about. Bareback riding, steer wrestling, steer roping, bronco riding, barrel races and bull riding took center stage, with performances continuing nightly through Saturday at the Southern New Mexico State fairgrounds, west of Las Cruces. While professional cowboys have the spotlight in the rodeo arena, New Mexico's Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte is reminding everyone of those 4H and FFA members who will compete in Friday night's Junior Livestock Sale beginning at 6 p.m. in the Livestock Show Barn as part of the annual Southern New Mexico State Fair...more

Song Of The Day #684

Ranch Radio will wind up this week of rarities with Smiley Wilson & Kitty Carson and their 1953 recording of I've Found My Own.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

'War' at the Border: More Than a Texas Problem

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: It's war, right next door, in Mexico. The Obama administration doesn't seem to believe it, so maybe they will now, because two U.S. generals just released a report. Major General Bob Scales is one of those generals, and he joins us. Good evening, sir.
VAN SUSTEREN: I say it's war. You've been down to the border, prepared the report. Is it war or not?
SCALES: It's a war, Greta. What we've seen over the last two years is a shift, to use a military term, the strategic content of the cartels to shift their border operations north of the Mexican border one county deep into Texas for three reasons. First of all, to escape the increasing effectiveness of the Mexican military, secondly, to establish transshipment points for drugs and illegal trafficking, and third as a throughput to push those drugs into 270 cities throughout the United States. So this is not just a Texas problem, it's a national problem, because the cartels have a new strategy...more

"shift their border operations north of the Mexican border one county deep" 

Hey Senator Bingaman, wouldn't that include Dona Ana County?

Read the transcript at the link provided or watch the video below:

3 Family members killed in gangland hit in Juarez

Three members of the same Mexican family - mother, father and daughter - were shot and killed here in an attack that bore the hallmarks of organized crime-related violence. The victims, still unidentified, were attacked Wednesday by at least eight armed assailants who burst into the family home in a poor neighborhood of this violence-wracked northern Mexican border city, a municipal police spokesman told Efe, without indicating a possible motive. More than 9,000 homicides have occurred in that border city across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, from 2008 to the present...more

DOJ says Mexican cartels operating in over 1,000 U.S. cities

Mexican-based transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) were “operating in more than a thousand U.S. cities during 2009 and 2010, spanning all nine Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) regions,” according to the U.S. Justice Department’s National Drug Threat Assessment of 2011. According to the report, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) assesses with “high confidence” that Mexican-based TCOs “control distribution of most of the heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine available in the United States” and production of these drugs in Mexico “appears to be increasing.” “The organizations control, simultaneously use, or are competing for control of various smuggling corridors that they use to regulate drug flow across the border.” “Conditions within these border communities along both sides of the Texas-Mexico border are tantamount to living in a war zone in which civil authorities, law enforcement agencies as well as citizens are under attack around the clock,” the report says...more

U.S. Admits Mexican Cartels Control Parts Of Border

Janet Napolitano spent much of the spring sounding like a broken record ensuring that the U.S.-Mexico border is safe when the reality is that stretches are controlled by drug-trafficking organizations. A new federal report exposing the ugly truth about the southern border has left President Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary with egg on her face. Published by the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, the document contradicts much of what Napolitano has preached in the last few months during highly publicized jaunts to the crime-infested region. Remember this? The Mexican border “is as secure as it has ever been.” Or what about this; violence along the Mexican border is merely a mistaken “perception” because the Obama Administration has successfully fostered a “secure and prosperous” region. Napolitano also said that “misinformation about safety” is negatively impacting border communities and that the U.S.-Mexico border is not “overrun or out of control.”...more

ATF Fast and Furious guns turned up in El Paso

A cache of assault weapons lost in the ATF's gun-trafficking surveillance operation in Phoenix turned up in El Paso, where it was being stored for shipment to Mexico, according to new internal agency emails and federal court records. Forty firearms along with ammunition magazines and ballistic vests were discovered in Texas in January 2010 during the early stages of the program, meaning the firearms vanished soon after the program began. The El Paso case is the first example of Fast and Furious weapons turning up on this side of the border outside the Phoenix area. According to an ATF document, Sean Christopher Steward bought the 40 AK-47-type assault rifles on Dec. 24, 2009, from the Lone Wolf Trading Co. gun store in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix. The cache was part of 290 firearms ultimately acquired by Steward, a convicted drug felon, during the Fast and Furious operation...more

Babeu: ATF agents accomplices to murder in gun program

Federal agents who allowed weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels are accomplices to murder, according to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. Babeu spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper Wednesday night about the "Fast and Furious" weapons program conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The program filtered weapons purchased in the United States into Mexico, where they were to be tracked. However, Babeu said there was no tracking mechanism and that the weapons have been used in more than 200 murders. Three of the guns, Babeu said, were found at the scene where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed last December in a shootout north of Nogales. "I'm fearful that not just my deputies, but other officers, citizens in America, we are going to be facing the barrels of guns that have been put in the hands of the most violent criminals in North America and who's going to be held accountable?" Babeu told Cooper. When asked if he believed ATF agents have been accomplices to murder, Babeu replied, "Absolutely," and added, "Now, that's one step away from Eric Holder (U.S. attorney general). This is his Department of Justice and there are people who have lost their lives." Babeu said the U.S. put guns into the hands of cartels working to topple Mexico's government...more

Salazar, Hayes outline new wilderness nomination approach

US Sec. of the Interior Ken Salazar hopes to submit a preliminary list of areas suitable for federal wilderness designation to Congress in mid-October, but many of the areas will be within larger multiple-use tracts developed with input from states’ congressional delegations, county and local officials, and a wide range of stakeholders, he and Deputy Interior Sec. David J. Hayes told reporters during a teleconference. “We’ve learned that these lands are a huge economic engine for communities. We are hearing from small business owners, outfitters, tourism directors, and others how important they are,” said Salazar, who was in New Mexico. “We also have heard that land conservation proposals need to be tailored that recognize the unique characteristics of each area.” Hayes, who was in Winnemucca, Nev., added, “We’ve seen there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that fits all areas. This morning, I left a stakeholder meeting for the Pine Forest area in northern Nevada where ranchers, sportsmen, ATV owners and others have come together to preserve an area and agree on an approach to hard-wire the current uses so there’s permanent protection.” Oil and gas and mineral stakeholders will be included, he indicated. “Here in northern Nevada, for example, a representative of the Nevada Mining Association participated and determined that the area is not needed for future mining,” Hayes said. The strategy is bipartisan and includes areas which several Republican as well as Democratic members of Congress would like to preserve, Salazar said. US Bureau of Land Management Director Robert V. Abbey and several state BLM directors also provided input, he added. “People in both parties have introduced wilderness bills,” the secretary said...more

Salazar in Albuquerque to give progress report on wilderness plan

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be spending much of the day in New Mexico to rally support for public lands protection. Salazar plans to join other Interior officials on a conference call while he's in the state Thursday to discuss areas that have been recommended by county and state officials throughout the West for potential wilderness designation. Department officials have already toured several potential sites in New Mexico, California, Nevada and Utah. Salazar will also visit a 570-acre site on the edge of Albuquerque that has been proposed as an urban National Wildlife Refuge. Officials say it would be the Southwest's first urban wildlife refuge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bernalillo County and the Trust for Public Land have been working on establishing the refuge for several months. AP

Interior Secretary Salazar visits Utah

On a cliff overlooking a potential wilderness area in southern Utah's red rock country, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar emphasized the economic value of outdoor recreation and the need for local input for conservation efforts. It's a message Salazar repeated for about 100 people during an informal town hall at an outdoor outfitter here. While the crowd was relatively quiet, many people left frustrated with the message. "We've heard the same arguments for wilderness before," said Bill Redd, a former San Juan County Commissioner from Blanding. "But he's a Washington politician ... the four C's of the federal government are communication, cooperation, collaboration and capitulation." For Salazar, however, reaching out to local officials is a necessary step if he hopes to get any new wilderness areas approved by Congress. That's why he came to Utah on Wednesday and why he will visit New Mexico on Thursday. Salazar also plans to join other Interior officials on a Thursday conference call to discuss areas that have been recommended as potential wilderness by local and state officials throughout the West. "We have found a lot of areas where there is significant local support and congressional support," Salazar said...more

Supporters Of Wilderness Bill Say Meeting Stacked

Supporters of a plan to expand the San Juan Wilderness area say Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton tried to pack a town hall meeting in Ridgway with opponents to keep supporters from attending a public meeting to discuss the plan. Republicans are accusing environmentalists who back the plan of using the same tactics. The bitter battle over the wilderness area has been going on for years, with each side accusing the other of trying to hold secret meetings. The dispute is over a bill sponsored by Colorado's Democratic U.S. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, that would declare about 61,000 acres in southwestern Colorado as federal wilderness and special management areas. The San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act would designate 33,000 acres as wilderness, mostly as expansions of the existing Lizard Head and Mount Sneffels wilderness areas, and establish a new area called McKenna Peak that includes sandstone cliffs rising 2,000 feet above the plain. It would also designate about 22,000 acres as a special management area and withdraw over 6,000 acres within Naturita Canyon from mineral development...more

Obama admin approves 2 solar loans worth $1B

The Energy Department on Wednesday approved two loan guarantees worth more than $1 billion for solar energy projects in Nevada and Arizona, two days before the expiration date of a program that has become a rallying cry for Republican critics of the Obama administration's green energy program. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the department has completed a $737 million loan guarantee to Tonopah Solar Energy for a 110 megawatt solar tower on federal land near Tonopah, Nev., and a $337 million guarantee for Mesquite Solar 1 to develop a 150 megawatt solar plant near Phoenix. The loans were approved under the same program that paid for a $528 million loan to Solyndra Inc., a California solar panel maker that went bankrupt after receiving the money and laid off 1,100 workers...more

Solyndra’s $733 Million Plant Had Whistling Robots, Spa Showers

The glass-and-metal building that Solyndra LLC began erecting alongside Interstate 880 in Fremont, California, in September 2009 was something the Silicon Valley area hadn’t seen in years: a new factory. It wasn’t just any factory. When it was completed at an estimated cost of $733 million, including proceeds from a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee, it covered 300,000 square feet, the equivalent of five football fields. It had robots that whistled Disney tunes, spa-like showers with liquid-crystal displays of the water temperature, and glass-walled conference rooms. “The new building is like the Taj Mahal,” John Pierce, 54, a San Jose resident who worked as a facilities manager at Solyndra, said in an interview. The building, designed to make far more solar panels than Solyndra got orders for, is now shuttered, and U.S. taxpayers may be stuck with it...more

EDITORIAL: The solar swindle

The O Force has been running up America’s credit card by doling out cash to energy firms claiming to be green. Bosses at solar panel manufacturer Solyndra are busy taking the Fifth, and Obama administration officials are pleading ignorance over how an unsustainable enterprise was able to bag $535 million in taxpayer loot. In the coming days, Congress is likely to get to the bottom of exactly who knew what and when. There’s more to come with this scandal, but for now, one conclusion is clear already: You can’t outsmart the market. At the outset of his presidency, Barack Obama thought he could do just that. His agenda was designed to drive up the cost of efficient, carbon-based energy to match the price of expensive power wearing the trendy “renewable” label. The rationale: When artificially inflated prices for oil, natural gas and coal begin to bleed consumers dry, they’ll have no choice but to turn to politically correct forms of energy like sunlight, wind and biofuels. The “greenhouse gas” menace would end, according to liberal belief, purported global warming would be remedied, and we finally would “get ourselves back to the Garden,” as the iconic Woodstock-era song urged. The administration has spent nearly three years blocking access to America’s abundant carbon-based energy resources and throwing cash at “green” manufacturers. In effect, it has been an attempt to ruin a proven market and replace it with a government-approved one...more

Bill reasserts recreational use of lands

CONGRESSIONAL sportsmen's caucus members have reintroduced legislation designed to ensure that recreational fishing, hunting and shooting sports are supported as public activities on federal lands. The "Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act" (H.R. 2834) was introduced earlier this month by Reps. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) and Dan Boren (D-Okla.). The bill has 31 co-sponsors, including Rob Wittman of Virginia's 1st District. The 2011 version has a lengthy list of supporting organizations, including the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, National Rifle Association, Safari Club International, the American Sportfishing Association and more. Among the bill's mandates are requirements for federal land managers to consider hunting, fishing and target shooting in management plans. Any changes that effectively close or significantly restrict 640 or more contiguous acres of federal public land or water to access or use for fishing or hunting or activities related to fishing and hunting (or both) must be preceded by published notice, proof that state fish and wildlife agencies have been consulted, and written notice to Congress. The provisions would also apply in designated "wilderness areas."...more

Rob Krentz to be inducted into the Willcox Cowboy Hall of Fame

Rob Krentz was a lifelong rancher in southeastern Arizona. The Krentz Ranch, located northeast of Douglas, was founded by Rob's great-grandparents in the early 1900s. Rob and his wife Susan, together with his brother Phil and his wife Carrie, are the fourth generation of the family to live and work on the ranch. Rob attended elementary school in Apache, Ariz., and went to Douglas High School. He was active in 4-H and played high school football. Rob started at Cochise Community College and then transferred to the University of Arizona, where he earned a degree in Animal Science. Upon his graduation from the U of A, he returned to the family ranch where he worked for his father, Bob, and his uncles, Stuart and Jules. In July of 1977, Rob married Sue Kimble, and they have two sons, Frank and Andy, and one daughter, Kyle. Rob loved to hunt, fish, and do just about anything outdoors. He was a good roper, rancher, horseman, cowman, husband, father and grandfather. Rob was always active in his community. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cochise-Graham Cattle Growers Association and was the President of the organization in 1993-94. He was on the board for the Malapai Borderlands group, working to preserve ranching and wildlife habitat for future generations. He also served as President of the Whitewater Draw Natural Resource Conservation District. Rob and his family have always been good stewards of the land. In 2008, the Krentz Ranch was inducted into the Arizona Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame.

Buffalo roundup a must-see event

For years, the annual roundup of Custer State Park’s buffalo herd was a small affair with mostly buffalo ranchers in attendance looking to add stock to their herds. On Monday, about 15,000 people packed the hillsides near the corrals for a view of one of the West’s great spectacles: a herd of 1,200 wild buffalo being herded by cowboys on horseback. Binoculars and cameras at the ready, spectators, many of whom traveled hundreds of miles for the weekend even, were not disappointed. Custer State Park’s buffalo roundup has become one of the largest outdoor spectacles in South Dakota and the U.S. Almost literally nowhere else on earth can one see one of the last large herds of the American West’s iconic animal being rounded up at a gallop by cowboys across open grassland. The roundup is more than mere spectacle; it helps park officials to maintain a healthy number of bison that the park can support, while providing breeding stock to buffalo ranchers at a later auction. The buffalo are also checked for pregnancy, tested for diseases such as brucellosis, and vaccinated against other illnesses. Last year’s auction generated $325,000, and park officials say rising prices for buffalo nationwide could see record income at this year’s sale...more

The Westerner has been around some, but I don't believe you'll ever catch me preg checkin' a buffalo.

Ranchers report sad selling of livestock

As the extreme drought forces liquidation of cattle herds across Texas at an increasing rate, several Schleicher County ranchers are experiencing depression as they watch a lifetime of cattle genetics leave the ranch gate entrance aboard a truck. Pete Case says having to part with the registered Herefords that have been the core of the family business for three generations is "really pulling at our heartstrings." "With no pasture grass, it only takes two and a half weeks to go through a truckload of hay," Pete said. "We are feeding hay from Louisiana now. It is costing $20 per bale and $60 to get it here." He is trying to hold onto his foundation herd and, at the same time, praying for rain to come before he has to make the decision to sell out completely. Pete's grandfather, Percival F. Case, purchased the Schleicher County ranch in 1937 and entered the registered Hereford business in 1941. Across the county, Ronnie Mittel also is feeling the pains of loss. He has culled his cow herd to the bare bottom. "It is so sad to see genetics that we have nourished through all these years go to the slaughterhouse," he said. "Worse yet (we) will be trying to rebuild a herd when this drought ends, even if it ends soon. It will take years. I'm afraid at my age I don't have that much time." Ronnie's grandparents, William and Christena Strackbein Mittel, left Squaw Creek in Gillespie County in 1905 to settle on the Edwards Plateau. In the mid-1920s, the elder Mittel bought the Allison Ranch on the Schleicher and Sutton County line...more

Mexico Fears Rise of Vigilante Justice

A self-styled drug-trafficking group calling itself the "Zeta Killers" claimed responsibility this week for the recent murders of at least 35 people believed to belong to the Zetas, Mexico's most violent criminal organization. The claim by the "Mata Zetas" has stoked fears that Mexico, like Colombia a generation before, may be witnessing the rise of paramilitary drug gangs that seek society's approval and tacit consent from the government to help society confront its ills, in this case, the Zetas. On Wednesday, Mexico's national security spokeswoman Alejandra Sota vowed in a statement that the government would "hunt down" and bring to justice any criminal group that takes justice into its own hands. The issue surfaced last week after 35 bodies were dumped just blocks away from a hotel in the port city of Veracruz where Mexico's state attorney generals were due to hold a meeting the following day. Two days later, after the convention kicked off, an additional 11 bodies were found in different parts of the city. The shocking scenes, suggesting mass murder in front of the country's top law-enforcement officials, were followed up days later by a video in which five hooded men took responsibility for the murders, saying the victims were all Zetas who had carried out crimes like extortion...more

Bag of Severed Heads Left Near Mexican School

Five severed heads were left in a bag near a Mexican primary school, the latest example of the ruthless violence plaguing the country. Police were not able to determine if the grisly find, in an Acapulco neighborhood, was connected to extortion threats against teachers. Some 140 schools have closed their doors in recent weeks due to frightened teachers going on strike, according to The Associated Press. The men's heads were in a sack inside a wooden crate placed near the school, officers said. Messages threatening three aleged drug traffickers were also found in the bag. Police had earlier discovered five headless bodies in another part of the city...more

Song Of The Day #683

Ranch Radio today has a song about one of the reasons its great to be an American.  Here's Elton Britt and his 1941 recording of Everyone Has The Right To Be Screwy.

Suspected terrorist sneaks into Arizona from Mexico, captured, then released on bail

Two Bangladeshis who were caught by Customs and Border Protection illegally crossing the border in June 2010 admitted under questioning that they were members of a designated terrorist organization that signed on to a fatwa by Osama bin Laden pledging to wage war against Americans. But amazingly, after one of the men requested asylum, he was released on bond. And now one Homeland Security official tells me, concerning the released terror operative, “We don’t have the slightest idea where he is now.” The two men, Muhammad Nazmul Hasan and Mirza Muhammad Saifuddin, were intercepted near Naco, Arizona, not long after they had crossed the border on June 25, 2010. During their interrogation, one of the men admitted that they were members of Harakat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B), which was designated a terrorist organization by the United States in February 2008. Earlier this month the group claimed responsibility for a bombing a courthouse in New Delhi. That attack killed 11 and wounded at least 45 others...more

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hallmark Now Selling Unemployment Sympathy Cards - video

Call it another sign of our difficult economic times: Hallmark has taken a cue from the nation’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate and released a line of cards for people who’ve lost their jobs. Frank Fernandez, who owns Monica’s Hallmark in Dallas, said, “The cards are flying off the shelves.”...more

Drone, Drone On The Range: USDA may use drones to monitor vast Western rangeland

USDA scientists have found that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), a tool used by the military, may be suitable for keeping an eye on changing land-use patterns across vast tracts of Western rangeland. Ranchers, government agencies and private land managers often need to survey vast, remote rangelands to see how they are being altered by floods, forest fires or other events. Ground-based surveys can be costly and time-consuming. Satellite imagery is improving, but satellites can't provide the resolution needed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for its assessments of millions of acres of federally owned lands, or by private land owners who want to monitor erosion control, the creep of invasive species, or other land-use changes. UAVs allow operators to survey large areas whenever they want, such as immediately after a major rain storm or forest fire. At the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Jornada Experimental Range in Las Cruces, N.M., Al Rango, Jeff Herrick and Craig Winters, along with Andrea Laliberte, a New Mexico State University researcher, are studying the potential effectiveness of a 20-pound UAV with a 6-foot wingspan that cruises 700 feet above the earth, collecting digital images...more

And the following is from the ARS web page:

ARS scientists throughout the nation are using aerial photography to monitor a variety of lands with digital cameras and sensors, from the flat lands of the Chesapeake Bay’s Maryland Eastern Shore to the national parks, forests, mountains, and deserts of the West. The cameras and sensors are flown aboard all sorts of aircraft—from regular small passenger planes to light airplanes like the Dragonfly to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Besides Idaho, Booth has also done aerial surveys in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, looking at a variety of vegetation, including invasive and native trees, juniper woodlands, grasslands, and shrublands—on sites as diverse as gas pipeline rights-of-way and riverbanks.

Regular readers know I've been predicting this.  Range cons will be ridin' software saddles and you'll get your trespass notice or cut in carrying capacity emailed to you along with an aerial photograph.  Kinda like they do with red light cameras in the city.  A jihad by jet is heading' out west, compliments of your friendly federal auto-pilot.  Smokey the Bear will go to work for the FAA and Interior's buffalo will sprout wings.  Don't you look forward to it!

Permittees who aren't collecting ground data in self-defense will get droned out of better start your monitoring program today.

Me, I'm gonna start breedin' and sellin' camouflage cows.   

And be watchin' at the feed store for DuBois Drone Detectors that'll hang from your windmill.  

The DuBois Drone Destroyers aren't available yet as their design is still in its early stages.  I'm gonna test them at Bill Richardson's Spaceport America and for goodness sake don't tell the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Drones what I'm up to.

Uh oh, looks like I've got some underground work to do too.

Town Using Sensors Embedded In Streets To Locate Illegally-Parked Cars
Be careful where you decide to park your car. Massapequa Park will be the first Long Island municipality to use electronic sensors embedded in the street to detect illegally parked vehicles. Police can quickly slap a $25 fine on the vehicle after the wireless discs notify them of the violation by transmitting a signal to the officers’ cellphones...

Damn. They're overhead and under the ground too. Signals to cop's cell phone. Well, I'll probably make enough money off the DuBois Drone Detectors and Destroyers to come up with something to use in town too.  But I could use a little help on this one.

Exploding toilet injures woman in federal building

A woman was sent to the hospital after a toilet exploded at the General Services Administration (GSA) Building in DC, building officials said. DC Fire Spokesman Pete Piringer confirmed the woman was taken the the hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries. The GSA Regional office building employees were sent a memo, warning them to not use the bathrooms in the building, because the plumbing may be dangerous. The building is on 7th and D SW...more

I.'ve often said that in the private sector - cream rises to the top, and in the government sector - shit floats to the top.  But I've never seen it explode like that.  In fact, I don't believe it.  I'm thinkin' we've just had our first drone crash followed by a government cover-up.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visiting Utah as dispute over Wild Lands continues

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will meet publicly in Moab with elected officials still angry over a push to identify wilderness areas throughout the West. Salazar will make two stops in Utah Wednesday, beginning with a morning speech at Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal. Salazar will tour a wilderness study area near Moab before hosting a public meeting in the eastern Utah city late in the afternoon. Salazar plans to discuss the economic opportunities provided by conservation and outdoor recreation. Utah officials sued the Interior Department earlier this year because of a Wild Lands policy they feared would prohibit development and mining on millions of acres in the state. That lawsuit is still pending despite Salazar's suspension of the policy. AP

USFS ignites 7,000 acres of Montana wilderness in prescribed burn

Fire managers with Lewis and Clark National Forest ignited 7,000 acres in the Scapegoat Wilderness on Saturday, with the flames replacing entire stands in some areas and kicking up huge plumes of smoke that could be seen for miles. Wendy Maples, acting ranger of the Rocky Mountain Ranger District, said the burn met the objective, which was reducing fuels that could carry a wilderness fire onto nonwilderness property southwest of Augusta. Originally, fire managers were planning to ignite 11,000 acres in the South Fork Sun River Prescribed Fire. Previous burns, part of the same project, occurred in 2003 and 2009. But a Red Flag warning Sunday calling for high temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds prompted fire managers to suspend ignition operations on the remaining 4,000 acres...more

Kill order means initial wolf pack may not survive

The decision to kill two more wolves for preying on livestock could mean the end of the first Oregon wolf pack to successfully breed since efforts began to restore the predators. State wolf coordinator Russ Morgan said Monday that despite this setback, restoration of wolves is moving forward, with individuals striking out for new territories, and the newly formed Walla Walla pack in Umatilla County breeding its first two pups. "Recovery has a number of barometers," Morgan said from his office in LaGrande, Ore. "If we look at dispersal in the overall area in Oregon, it's clearly expanding. "The lethal control actions we are involved with now may have the effect of slowing recovery. But it is also tied to recovery. One of the premises of the Oregon wolf plan is that by directly dealing with depredation issues, that helps create a bit of tolerance. I suppose that remains to be seen." The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced last week that it will kill two of the four remaining members of the Imnaha pack, which has been responsible for 14 confirmed livestock kills over the last two years. A department hunter is looking first for a member of the pack not collared with a radio transmitter, Morgan said. Then he will go after the alpha male, which goes by the number OR4 and sired the first pups in Oregon since wolves began moving back into the state from Idaho in the 1990s...more

State's Congressional Delegration Pushes For Wolf Delisting

Most of Wisconsin's Congressional delegation has joined the push to get the gray wolf taken off the endangered species list in the western Great Lakes region. U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, U.S. Rep. Thomas Petri, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, and U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble have joined forces to request that the gray wolf be removed from the endangered species list list. The Fish and Wildlife Service announced last spring that it wants to again delist the gray wolf in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. But recently the service extended the comment period for the proposed change, as scientists take a longer look at whether what some feel is a separate second type of wolf in Wisconsin, the Eastern Wolf, would be harmed if the gray is no longer listed as endangered. Rep. Tammy Baldwin wrote the letter that asks the Fish and Wildlife Service to move ahead with delisting the gray wolf. She says the gray and eastern are pretty much the same animal...more

When you saw the headline you knew it wasn't New Mexico.

Agency Considers 374 Species for Protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has found that protection for 374 southeastern freshwater species in 12 states may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act. The agency will now launch a full 12-month status review of each species. The decision is part of a settlement agreement reached between the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Center for Biological Diversity earlier this year compelling the agency to reach listing decisions on more than 700 species of plants and animals by 2018. The 374 species the agency will review include 89 species of crayfish and other crustaceans; 81 plants; 78 mollusks; 51 butterflies, moths, caddisflies and other insects; 43 fish; 13 amphibians; 12 reptiles, four mammals and three birds. The Center for Biological Diversity originally petitioned to list 404 species as threatened or endangered under the act...more

Settlement Requires Feds to Act on Protecting 82 Coral Species From Extinction

In an agreement filed today in federal court, the U.S. government pledged to determine by April 15, 2012, whether Endangered Species Act protections are needed for 82 species of coral. The settlement is the result of a 2009 petition from the Center for Biological Diversity asking the federal government to list the corals as threatened or endangered; that decision is now overdue. The corals, which occur in U.S. waters ranging from Florida and Hawaii to American territories in the Caribbean and Pacific, have all declined by more than 30 percent over a 30-year period. Coral reefs around the world are facing extinction due to overfishing, pollution and the overarching threats of global warming and ocean acidification...more

Song Of The Day #682

Today's number on Ranch Radio is Birthday Cake by Randy Hughes.

Our tune today goes out to Etienne Etchevery (A-10) the Crayola Cowboy.  You see, A-10 really likes songs about...cake.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

NC governor recommends suspending Congressional elections to focus on jobs

As a way to solve the national debt crisis, North Carolina Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue recommends suspending congressional elections for the next couple of years. “I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover,” Perdue said at a rotary club event in Cary, North Carolina, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “I really hope that someone can agree with me on that.”...more

Hey guv, if you need to suspend anything its Congress, not elections.
I'm sure others will recommend you suspend your mouth for two least.

Question:  Do elected officials in NC take an oath to uphold the Constitution?

Santa Fe has some of world’s best air, says WHO

New Mexico’s capital, which regularly tops rankings for its quality of life, has something new to brag about. The first-ever World Health Organization survey on air pollution said Santa Fe’s air-quality readings are among the cleanest in the world. Santa Fe Mayor David Coss said he’s pleased but not surprised as the city consistently gets high rankings from the American Lung Association. Santa Fe and the Canadian Yukon Territory’s capital Whitehorse were among the cities with the top rankings in the global survey from WHO, which measures the levels of airborne particles smaller than 10 micrometers – so-called PM10s – in almost 1,100 cities. Whitehorse had a yearly average of just 3 micrograms of PM10s per cubic meter, while Santa Fe measured 6 micrograms...more

"Stimulus" for Two Elk project: Big checks but no new jobs

Over the past two years, the federal stimulus program paid the owner of a Colorado-based energy company and the company’s Wyoming representative more than $1 million in salaries and benefits for a Department of Energy carbon storage study in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, according to records obtained by WyoFile under the Freedom of Information Act. Federal pay invoices show that Michael J. Ruffatto, founder and CEO of North American Power Group Ltd., based in Greenwood Village, CO, received $955,343.29, and Brad Enzi, NAPG’s Cheyenne-based representative and son of Wyoming US Sen. Mike Enzi, $128,394.73 for the Two Elk Energy Park Carbon Site Characterization project from September 2009, when the study began, through July 31, 2011, the last date for which records were available. According to the National Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, Ruffatto and Enzi’s compensation is nearly 20 percent of the total spent so far on the project. Overall, the price tag of the Two Elk carbon site characterization project is nearly $10 million — $9,949,962.00. Its purpose is to determine if the sub-surface geology of the Powder River basin is suitable for storing CO2 produced by power plants and other industrial sources. The project was awarded two grants from the DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory. It is part of the Obama administration’s National Recovery Act stimulus package aimed at jump-starting the economy and creating new jobs. However, in his most recent quarterly filing to the National Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, Ruffatto, a millionaire lawyer and philanthropist who heads the scientific project, reported that “no new direct jobs have been created for this project.”...more

Mexican Grey Wolf Rumored Recovery Expansion: From 100 to 750 Animals, From Two States To Four

The following is an excerpt from the newsletter of the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation:

...Keep in mind "we" have been working on recovering this species for the last 13 years. The total cost to date is more than $24 Million and rising! Our Arizona Game and Fish Department has invested over $5 Million in the process already. With all this time, money and manpower invested, what's the result - an estimated population in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA) of 50 wolves.

The goal for the BRWRA was for 100 animals, a number by all accounts that has been elusive. For the record, there are varying reports that the estimated population of 50 doesn't include any wolves that are on the White Mountain and San Carlos Apache Reservations. We don't know how many wolves exist there. So, with that framework in mind, what is the USFWS up to? You will recall that recent Congressional actions delisting the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies failed to include provisions for delisting of the Mexican gray wolf, the argument being that Arizona had not yet reached its recovery goal of 100 wolves. In response to continuing pressure from enviro-litigants USFWS is now accelerating the "recovery" process while the wolf advocates cheer them on.

At a recent USFWS meeting in New Mexico, those that were invited learned the USFWS is considering the adoption of a new Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan. Word is that this plan would "significantly" increase the recovery numbers for the Mexican gray wolf in the four state area of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. This information is very alarming given the fact that the original recovery plan published in March 1998 called for a goal of 100 wolves on the BRWRA which consists of the entire Apache and Gila National Forests in east-central Arizona and west-central New Mexico.

Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife (AZSFW) has learned that USFWS is discussing the possibility of increasing the population to 750 wolves (three meta populations of 250 wolves each) over a four-state area. This includes Arizona,New Mexico and southern portions of Colorado and Utah. This likely means expansion of wolves across much of Arizona! This action coupled with impending release of wolves in Mexico is extremely disturbing, as not only will this likely decimate our Arizona elk and deer populations, it will also impact all recreational users, and likely further complicate the access to our public lands...

Fatal grizzly attacks trigger policy review

Yellowstone National Park officials say they’ll review park policies following two fatal grizzly attacks this summer. One incident involved a solo hiker, John Wallace, 59, of Michigan, who died Aug. 25 of injuries after being mauled. His body was discovered the next day. The other involved 57-year-old Brian Matayoshi, of California, who died in July after he was attacked by a female grizzly with two cubs. His wife, who was hiking with him, was unharmed. Both attacks occurred in areas known as grizzly habitat. Rangers encourage park visitors to carry bear spray and to hike in groups of three or more. The deaths were the first from grizzly attacks in Yellowstone since 1986, said Al Nash, park spokesman, who noted that the odds of being injured by a bear in Yellowstone are extremely low – about 1 in 3 million. However, he said, “I expect us to have an in-depth and robust discussion about our visitor safety in light of these two incidents.”...more

I just can't imagine the Park Service doing anything "robust". Plodding maybe, but certainly not robust.

Grizzly Study: Idaho & Montana

Next summer, grizzly bears will follow their noses to census sites. Enticed by the smell of fermented cow blood and fish guts, they’ll crawl through corrals of barbed wire to sniff logs doused with the mixture. Unbeknownst to them, the big bruins will be leaving DNA samples behind. Researchers will collect hair snared on the barbed wire. Through DNA testing, scientists will be able to identify individual grizzlies and determine their gender and blood lines. The three-year study will yield more precise estimates of the number of grizzlies in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem of North Idaho and Western Montana. Kate Kendall, a scientist at the U.S. Geological Service at Glacier National Park, is heading up the research. She used identical methods several years ago to count grizzlies in Montana’s Northern Divide Ecosystem. The 34,000 hair samples led to a revised estimate of 765 grizzlies – 2 ½ times more than previously thought...more

Official: BLM 'seriously considering' fracking rules

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is “seriously considering” regulating hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at oil-and -gas wells on federal lands, a BLM official said Monday. A recent federal report on fracking and results from public forums hosted by the BLM have led the agency to think about drafting as-of-now undetermined new rules, BLM Wyoming Deputy Director Larry Claypool told attendees at a Monday forum on fracking. The announcement heralded what could be a broad push by the federal agency into regulating oil and gas development on millions of acres it manages across the nation. Claypool said fracking is currently allowed on federal land without federal restrictions, with some exceptions. But the BLM is allowed to inspect oil-and-gas sites for compliance with federal rules, including environmental regulations, he said...more

Obama's Interior Chokehold on America

How could a bureaucratic bottleneck in the Gulf of Mexico cost the U.S. economy nearly $20 billion and wipe out hundreds of thousands of jobs as far away as Ohio, Pennsylvania and California? Unfortunately, with this White House administration, anything is possible. President Obama recently announced yet another jobs initiative -- knowing all the while that one very simple action on his part would indeed create new jobs, infuse federal and state budgets with billions of dollars, and make us less reliant on imports. But that didn't happen. On Oct. 12, 2010, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, "We're open for business," signaling that drilling for new oil in the Gulf of Mexico would resume. But, Mr. Salazar has an odd interpretation of the words "open for business." Eleven months after the Secretary's announcement, drilling in the Gulf remains near a standstill. The government has used every stall tactic imaginable to delay permits and other administrative approvals that would help our economy and put hundreds of thousands back to work. The Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST) commissioned IHS Global Insight and IHS CERA Inc. to quantify the economic impacts of the government's slow pace of permitting since lifting the moratorium. Their study revealed that the number of exploration plans and permit applications are on par with levels in 2009 through early 2010, clearly signaling the industry's intent to return to full operations. Industry also has invested billions of dollars in well containment technology to stop a Macondo-size spill if it ever became necessary. So safety can no longer be blamed for permitting delays. That leaves the Department of the Interior...more

APPLE Act Focuses on Western States Absentee Fed Landlord

Utah Republican Congressman Rob Bishop introduced legislation in September focused on what he calls "the West's absentee landlord – the federal government." Bishop, House Natural Resources, National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee chairman, introduced what he calls his APPLE (Action Plan for Public Lands & Education) Act in HR 2852, on Sept. 7. Tax revenue generated by private property is one of the greatest contributors to pubic education funding. However, western states that consist of large portions of federal land find themselves at a "severe disadvantage," Bishop believes, when it comes to generating funding for education. Republican Senator Orin Hatch of Utah has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate (S 1524) authorizing western states to select 5% of Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands to be sold or leased, with the generated revenue dedicated to public education...more

It's for the children - how could anyone oppose that?

Deaths rise in California's national forests

Yosemite National Park has gotten all the attention for a spike in visitor deaths this year. But fatalities also are up on national forest lands throughout California, such as an expert kayaker who drowned in a remote creek near Sonora. Data provided by the U.S. Forest Service show there have been 27 deaths in 18 national forests in the state through Aug. 15, the most recent data available. That is about equal to the total number of deaths in each of the last three full calendar years, said Stanton Floria, a spokesman for the Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Region, which is based in Vallejo and oversees all the California forests. "We have been noticing a trend toward more injuries and fatalities," Floria said. ''We're already at the point where we've been in past years, and we haven't concluded the year yet, so that's fairly telling." A similar deadly trend was reported in August about Yosemite, after prominent incidents at Half Dome and Vernal Fall. Since then, six more people have died at Yosemite, bringing the park's total for the year to 20 fatalities...more

Arizona's Outdoor Recreation Community Urges Interior Secretary To Protect Grand Canyon From Mining

It's not unusual to send postcards from national parks, but the card sent to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar not only encourages him to visit Grand Canyon National Park, but to protect it from hardrock mining. Signed by more than 200 Arizona businesses that rely on outdoor recreation, the message was sent to the Interior secretary as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management nears an end to an environmental impact statement examining whether to pass a 20-year moratorium on hardrock mining near the park. The retro-style postcards depict the Grand Canyon and read, “Wish you were here…and not new uranium mining! Thank you, Secretary Salazar, for your efforts to protect the Grand Canyon, our heritage, and our economy.”...more

Wind Power's Political Payoff

Our ever-campaigning president heads off to a fundraiser held by a politically connected businessman whose company took a $100 million stimulus tax credit. Solyndra didn't stop pay-for-play the "Chicago Way." Tone-deaf somehow does not seem adequate to describe President Obama's silent indifference to the Solyndra scandal of his making as he rushes off to another fundraiser, a $25,000 per person affair in Missouri on Oct. 4 organized by another beneficiary of our stimulus tax dollars. Tom Carnahan, of the Missouri Carnahans, arguably that state's most prominent political family, is listed on President Obama's campaign website as a host of the St. Louis fundraising extravaganza amid widespread unemployment and tanking markets. Coincidentally, of course, Carnahan's energy development firm, Wind Capital Group, is the recipient of a $107 million federal tax credit to develop a wind power facility in his state. We know that people support candidates who tend to share their interests and beliefs, and that an appearance of impropriety may be only that — an appearance of one. But there's a disturbing pattern here of an administration picking winners and losers, with an emphasis on losers who happen also to be donors...more

Americans Express Historic Negativity Toward U.S. Government

A record-high 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed, adding to negativity that has been building over the past 10 years...Gallup poll

Here are some of the key findings:
  • 82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.
  • 69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010.
  • 57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43% who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.
  • 53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.
  • Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago.
  • 49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.

Ag Water: Water-lease test aims to end ‘buy and dry’ trend

A pilot project in Colorado’s Arkansas Valley seeks to break a “buy and dry” trend in which thirsty cities buy water rights from farmers desperate for cash in times of severe drought, only to permanently parch cropland, shutter farms and hurt the tax bases of agricultural towns. The three-year project would pay farmers to dry up some of their land on a rotating basis and let cities temporarily lease the unused water. “Water is the most valuable thing we have. It’s what I have to have to make a living,” said Lamar-area corn and hay producer Dale Mauch, vice president of the Lower Arkansas Valley Super Ditch Co., which is working on the project. “The Front Range is going to keep growing. We have to either come up with a way to work with them or sell out and quit,” Mauch said at a meeting last week in Rocky Ford to discuss the idea. Proponents aim to sign contracts with about 10 farmers by October for the first year of the project. Each farmer would fallow about 33 acres in 2012 to divert a total 500 acre-feet of water – enough for about 1,000 households – to Pueblo Reservoir...more

Song Of The Day #681

The tune on Ranch Radio today is I'm Gonna Turn You A'Loose, recorded in 1952 by Billy Wallace & The Night Owls.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Woman Decapitated in Mexico for Web Posting

Police found the body of a woman who had been decapitated in a Mexican border city on Saturday, alongside a handwritten sign saying she was killed in retaliation for her postings on a social networking site. The gruesome killing may be the third so far this month in which people in Nuevo Laredo were killed by a drug cartel for what they said on the Internet. Morelos Canseco, the interior secretary of northern Tamaulipas state, where Nuevo Laredo is located, identified the victim as Marisol Macias Castaneda, a newsroom manager for the Nuevo Laredo newspaper Primera Hora. The newspaper has not confirmed that title, and an employee of the paper said Macias Castaneda held an administrative post, not a reporting job. The employee was not authorized to be quoted by name. But it was apparently what the woman posted on the local social networking site, Nuevo Laredo en Vivo, or "Nuevo Laredo Live," rather than her role at the newspaper, that resulted in her killing. The site prominently features tip hotlines for the Mexican Army, navy and police, and includes a section for reporting the location of drug gang lookouts and drug sales points -- possibly the information that angered the cartel...more

Killing sows fear over social media in Mexico

The killing of a Mexican woman purportedly in retaliation for her postings on an anti-crime website has left stunned chat users and employees at the newspaper where she worked wondering who can still be safe in the violent border city of Nuevo Laredo. Press freedom groups condemned the killing of Maria Elizabeth Macias, whose decapitated body and head were found Saturday next to a message citing posts she wrote on "Nuevo Laredo en Vivo," a website used by Laredo residents to denounce crime and warn each other about drug cartel gunfights and roadblocks. Macias had previously been identified by an official in Tamaulipas state as Marisol Macias, who had worked as a newsroom manager for the Nuevo Laredo newspaper Primera Hora. But an editor at Primera Hora said Monday that Macias was the daily's advertising supervisor. The editor would not give his name for security reasons. The editor said the killing apparently was not related to Macias' job at the daily, which, in the face of intimidation and threats by drug gangs, had stopped even reporting on drug violence two years ago...more

3 Die in violent weekend in Mexican border state

At least three people, including a police officer and a prison guard, were gunned down over the weekend in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, officials said. Gunmen traveling in at least two vehicles killed a Ciudad Juarez municipal police department lieutenant on Sunday. The officer, who was identified by the department only by the surname of Maldonado, was driving his SUV down a busy street in Ciudad Juarez, a border city located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, when the gunmen cut him off and opened fire. A guard at the Aquiles Serdan prison in Chihuahua city, the state capital, was killed by gunmen on Saturday while he was driving to Ciudad Juarez, the AG's office said. The unidentified guard was attacked at kilometer 18 of the Chihuahua-Ciudad Juarez highway by gunmen aboard a vehicle, the AG's office said. A 20-year-old man who was dancing at a club in Chihuahua city died after gunmen doused him with gasoline Saturday night and set him on fire, prosecutors said...more

'Expendable, unaccountable' Texas children now recruited by Mexican drug cartels

According to a report released today, almost two-thirds of criminal activity in Texas is gang related and Mexican cartels are now recruiting school-age children. The much anticipated study reveals that drug cartels are now recruiting our Texas children with significant investments for their criminal gang activities. In the last 18 months, six of seven cartels have established headquarters in Texas cities, according to testimony form the Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McGraw. At least 22 murders, 24 assaults, 15 shootings and five kidnappings have been traced to cartel activities on the Texas side of the border during since January 2010...more

U.S. Government Used Taxpayer Funds to Buy, Sell Weapons During 'Fast and Furious,' Documents Show

Not only did U.S. officials approve, allow and assist in the sale of more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa cartel -- the federal government used taxpayer money to buy semi-automatic weapons, sold them to criminals and then watched as the guns disappeared. This disclosure, revealed in documents obtained by Fox News, could undermine the Department of Justice's previous defense that Operation Fast and Furious was a "botched" operation where agents simply "lost track" of weapons as they were transferred from one illegal buyer to another. Instead, it heightens the culpability of the federal government as Mexico, according to sources, has opened two criminal investigations into the operation that flooded their country with illegal weapons...more

For background on this fast breaking story go here and here.

Cows versus trout in the Eastern Sierra

With the summer grazing season in the Eastern Sierra coming to an end, he was preparing, perhaps for the last time, to move hundreds of cows out of the high country and into the Owens Valley. The 30-mile cattle drive from the Golden Trout Wilderness down to the village of Olancha is among the oldest in the state — and a cherished family tradition. "My grandfather began running cattle in these meadows in 1906," said Hunter, 47, a third-generation rancher in Lone Pine, about 200 miles north of Los Angeles. "My outfit depends on grazing up here." But his right to continue using the land, inside the Inyo National Forest, is dependent on the outcome of a dispute over how best to protect the California golden trout. Genetically pure strains of the official state fish, with its bright yellow sides, scarlet belly and burnt orange fins, can be found in just 15 miles of streams that run through meadows near Hunter's grazing land. A large tract of the 300,000-acre wilderness next to Sequoia National Park has been cow-free since federal land managers in 2001 canceled Anheuser-Busch's grazing permits in an effort to heal meadows and streams that had been trampled by sheep and cattle since the late 1800s. (One of the world's largest breweries, Anheuser-Busch had taken over operation of an Owens Valley cattle ranch in 1988.) Federal officials also "rested" two allotments, totaling 88,000 acres, for 10 years in order to compare their recovery with conditions on two adjacent swaths of land — including that used by Hunter — where grazing was allowed to continue. With those rests set to expire this year, the U.S. Forest Service is studying three options: extend the experiment, eliminate grazing on all four allotments or forge an agreement with ranchers eager to run cattle over the rested meadows...more

Air Force flyovers: Special Ops to buzz NM & Colorado?

Last month, under pressure from Representative Scott Tipton and ranchers in the Pinon Canyon area, Air Force officials backed off a plan to conduct intensive low-altitude training flights over southeast Colorado. But the recently unveiled boundaries for the low, low flights probably won't cause much joy in Durango, Montrose, Grand Junction or Aspen. A draft environmental assessment proposes a training fly zone for the 27th Special Operations Wing that stretches from Cannon Air Force Base in eastern New Mexico across most of the northern part of that state, then jogs across the southwestern quarter of Colorado. For a large-scale map of the zone, which stretches from Cortez to Grand Junction to Aspen, then back through the heart of the San Luis Valley to the New Mexico border, click here. The Air Force wants to run three missions a night over the area, at altitudes generally less than 1,000 feet, to give its Special Ops crews more training over challenging mountainous terrain, contending that current flyover corridors are too flat for that purpose. Some critics of the proposal describe it as part of a push for a Joint Forces Combat Training Area that will eventually encompass much of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico...more

Drought News: NM, Az, Tex

‘Driest Year Ever’ Continues In N.M. “We’re well on track for this being the driest year ever in New Mexico,” Ed Polasko, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, told the group. Polasko’s grim statement followed his listing of dozens of communities around New Mexico that have fallen inches behind in their precipitation. Some of the biggest precipitation deficits are along the Middle and Lower Rio Grande, but he also pointed to Carlsbad and Tatum in southeastern New Mexico, which have missed out on anywhere from six to 10 inches of their normal annual precipitation. Las Cruces and Deming are also behind. Nearly every corner of New Mexico has been affected by drought this year, and the conditions are so bad that about two-thirds of the state have been classified as extreme and exceptional – the two worst levels of drought. This summer was one of the driest on record and that helped compound a problem that has been brewing since last fall and winter, when storms brought little more than freezing temperatures to New Mexico. The La Niña weather pattern that repelled moisture from much of the state was to blame. The bad news is that La Niña seems to be rearing its head once more, Polasko said...

Arizona drought conditions could deepen A dry winter and a weak monsoon fueled record wildfires, record heat and a succession of dust storms that played like a broken record, pushing Arizona deeper into a drought that has persisted since 1999. Now, forecasters say La Niña, the ocean force responsible for the scant snowfall in Arizona's high country last year, has returned for an encore and could set the stage for even drier conditions next year. The latest weekly survey by the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Neb., shows all of Arizona in some degree of drought, from abnormally dry conditions in the state's western third to pockets of extreme drought on the Navajo Reservation and extreme and exceptional drought in the southeastern corner of the state. A winter forecast, meanwhile, by the Climate Prediction Center suggests little will change on the survey's drought map in the coming months. The odds favor drier, warmer weather over most of Arizona through December...

Drought helps triple livestock sales at auction More than 3,000 head of cattle passed through the auction ring Thursday and Friday during a second consecutive week of two-day sales at San Angelo's Producers Livestock Auction. Sales receipts for cattle and sheep have tripled over a four-month period when compared with a year ago, all because of the drought, said Benny Cox, auction sheep sales manager. "A total of 67,920 head of cattle sold from May through August compared to 25,282 for the same time period last year," Benny told me Thursday. "In other words, a total of 42,638 head more sold for those four months in 2011 than in 2010." On the sheep side, 175,100 head sold from May through August compared with 122.023 for the same time period last year, a difference of 53,077...

Amid drought, Texas ranches shipping cattle to other states This week, rancher Donnell Brown will do something he never thought his family's spread would consider. The 106-year-old R.A. Brown Ranch will ship hundreds of beef cows, bred heifers and bulls 1,300 miles to Montana. Like a latter-day version of the 19th-century cattle drives by Charles Goodnight and Jesse Chisholm, tens of thousands of dogies are moving north. But these are not lean longhorn steers hoofing it across the Red River under the watchful eyes of saddle-sore, dollar-a-day cowboys and ending up at a slaughterhouse gate. Rather, they are expensive breeding stock being driven in heavy cattle trailers at a trucking rate of $3.75 a mile toward rain-fed pastures. Many may eventually return to Texas. Dwindling water supplies and parched range caused by the state's devastating drought are forcing Brown and such large, storied ranches as the Spade, Moorhouse, Swenson and the 6666 to move a good portion of their seed stock...

Warrant issued in Moffat County for wrongful branding

An arrest warrant has been issued in Moffat County District Court for a local rancher suspected of violating Colorado Revised Statutes regarding cattle. Monty Luke Pilgrim, 51, of Little Snake River, is suspected of theft, a Class 3 felony; theft of certain animals, a Class 4 felony; wrongful branding, a Class 6 felony; and concealing estrays, a Class 6 felony, according to an arrest affidavit filed Tuesday in district court. Pilgrim is suspected of being in possession of 36 cows and 31 calves belonging to nine different owners. He is also suspected of misbranding those calves as his own...more

Tad Richards never met a stranger he didn't invite to ranch

The U.S. Cavalry from Fort Chadbourne near present-day Bronte and Fort Concho at San Angelo had driven most of the Apaches and Comanche from the open range surrounding Oak Creek by Sept. 2, 1879, when Tad Richards was born. The Richards Ranch was about three miles east of Oak Creek in Runnels County and north of Bronte. Although Runnels County was created from Bexar and Travis counties in 1858, it was not organized until 1880. Tad Richards' father helped organize Coke County in 1889. Young Tad attended school at Fort Chadbourne and Hayrick, a community in southeastern Coke County that was named for a nearby mountain shaped like a hay mound. When he was 14 years old, Tad took his first job herding cattle near the Nueces and Frio rivers in South Texas for $20 per month. "That was good money in those days," he told a Standard-Times reporter some years later. "I was staying at Hayrick, going to school, when a man came along and offered me $20 a month if I'd furnish my horse. That ended school for me. It was two weeks before my family found out about it, and by that time I was well into my job."...more