Monday, April 30, 2012

No gold rush on Oregon's federal lands even with record prices

With mountain snows melting and gold prices at $1,620 per ounce, miners should be stampeding into Oregon's historic minerals districts around Baker City, Sumpter, Granite and Grants Pass. It's not happening. In fact, mining seems to be on the wane. Take previous hot spot Baker County: It has 802 active claims, down from 1,057 six years ago when gold brought $575 an ounce. Several factors appear to be dampening gold fever across Oregon. It takes seven to 10 years on average to get approval for a permit to develop a mine on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service or U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said Mark Compton, spokesman for the 2,000-member Northwest Mining Association in Spokane. "If we could improve the permitting time line, we would see more investment in the U.S. mining industry," Compton said. "That would lead to more jobs, as well as decreasing our dependence on foreign sources of minerals." The Metals Economics Group, which monitors mining companies worldwide, reported recently that only 8 percent of spending on minerals exploration occurs in the United States -- down from 20 percent in the 1990s. The U.S. is tied with Papua New Guinea for last place among the 25 leading nations where mining occurs because of permitting delays, according to Behre Dolbear Group Inc., minerals industry advisers. That's better than last year, when the U.S. was dead last...more

And just multiply that regulatory drag across our entire economy.  Way to go Feds.

USFS turns to saws to get rid of frozen cows

Federal forest officials are thinking of using hand saws to break up the carcasses of frozen cows that died inside a cabin at 11,000 feet near Aspen. The U.S. Forest Service had been exploring whether to burn the cabin or blow it up with explosives to get rid of the cabin and the cows. But a plan explored this week involves using hand saws to cut up carcasses of six cows frozen inside the cabin and four or five buried in the snow outside. Rangers believe the cows wandered into the cabin near the popular Conundrum Hot Springs during a snowstorm but couldn't find their way out. Air Force Academy cadets found their frozen carcasses while snowshoeing in late March. Forest officials wanted to remove the carcasses before they thaw. AP

Top EPA Official Resigns over 'Crucify' Comment

The Obama administration's top environmental official in the oil-rich South and Southwest region has resigned after Republicans targeted him over remarks made two years ago when he used the word "crucify" to describe his approach to enforcement. In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson sent Sunday, Al Armendariz says he regrets his words and stresses that they do not reflect his work as administrator of the five-state region including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana...more

My original post on this story is here.

Obama’s green team comes out swinging as election proceeds

President Obama's top energy and environmental officials are casting their work as a core piece of White House efforts to boost the economy while using rough-and-tumble language to parry Republican attacks. Four speeches over four days by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson signal a political all-hands-on-deck approach to defending the White House’s economic record ahead of the 2012 elections. The tactic signals the extent to which the White House response to criticism over high gasoline prices, green-energy spending and environmental rules is extending well beyond a recent series of speeches by the president. It also arrives amid signs of continued economic sluggishness that’s likely to worry the White House heading into the fall campaign. Jackson, in remarks Thursday and Friday, made perhaps her most direct argument to date that the administration’s green agenda has an economic focus, repeatedly invoking the president’s call for an economy “built to last.” Salazar, in speeches on Tuesday and Wednesday, blasted House Republicans for claiming his department is stifling energy production. He accused them of pursuing “fairy tale” energy policies aimed at scoring election-season political points and spreading falsehoods about the administration’s energy record...more

Lee Responds to Interior Secretary’s Comments on Utah Lands

Senator Mike Lee responded to comments made by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar regarding recent Utah state land transfer legislation. The bill sets a deadline for the federal government to transfer all lands not designated as “wilderness” or as a national park to state control by 2014. “More than two-thirds of all the land within Utah’s borders is owned by the federal government, which makes it very difficult to grow our state economy, pay for education, and create new opportunities for Utahns. The President and his advisers like to talk about “fairness,” yet how fair is it that the state of Utah must ask for federal permission to use the vast majority of their own land?" “Thankfully, states like Arizona are joining Utah in standing up for their rights and I certainly expect more to support our effort soon."...Press Release

Conservation group plans to sue county, feds over halted Gold Butte cattle roundup

The other shoe has dropped in the long-simmering feud between the Bureau of Land Management and Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy over the bureau's insistence but reluctance to round up hundreds of Bundy's renegade cattle in the Gold Butte area. An environmental watchdog, the Center for Biological Diversity, served a 60-day notice Monday of its intent to sue the BLM, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Clark County for failing to implement provisions of the Endangered Species Act. The act mandates the agencies comply with a permit for the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan. The permit allows the county to remove federally protected desert tortoises, a threatened species, in areas targeted for development in exchange for protecting critical habitat, including where 700 head of Bundy's cattle roam near his former grazing allotment. The allotment was closed in 1994 to preserve tortoise habitat, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, but Bundy continued to graze his cattle there despite a 1998 federal court order to remove them. The BLM had hired a helicopter roundup company to gather Bundy's cattle on April 11 and impound the cattle but bureau officials decided to postpone the gather indefinitely after Bundy stated he would do "whatever it takes" to stop the impoundment action...more

Governors from 4 Western states discussing federal control of public lands

Seeking a unified front on common concerns, the governors of four Western states held discussions Friday on issues ranging from federal land control to immigration. "The Western states need to bind together and unite their voices," said Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who hosted the talks at the governor's mansion near downtown Salt Lake City. "We have a uniqueness that other people don't understand." The participating governors, all Republicans, included Idaho's Butch Otter, Wyoming's Matt Mead and Nevada's Brian Sandoval, who joined the conference by phone. The all-day gathering, which Herbert dubbed the Rocky Mountain Roundtable, focused heavily on the management of public lands by the federal government. All of the states represented have large swaths under federal control, whether it's national forest, national parks or acreage owned by Bureau of Land Management. The participating governors say that federal policies can impede energy development, which can be important catalysts for job creation and increased tax revenue. But they worry their concerns are downplayed or ignored in Washington...more

Gov. Perry weighs in on Idle Iron policy

Texas game fish and the oil rigs they depend on for habitat have some friends in high places. In a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling for a review of the federal government’s “Idle Iron” policy that threatens to dismantle what is regarded as the largest artificial reef system in the world. In the letter, Perry says that the policy, which orders non-producing oil and gas rigs and other structures in offshore waters to be removed within five years of the issuance of the directive, will have profound negative implications for marine fisheries and the local coastal communities and businesses that rely on the fishing opportunities that these structures provide in the Gulf. “I understand the factors that may have influenced the decision to order the blanket removal of these structures in the aftermath of the tragic oil spill of 2010,” Perry said. “However, a more balanced, reasoned response is required in light of irrefutable evidence that these structures are the basis for thriving ecosystems that harbor and sustain an immense diversity of life above and below the waterline, including seabirds, fish, turtles, marine mammals and corals.”...more

Ag Subsidy Database Released

The Environmental Working Group released today the latest update of its widely referenced farm subsidy database after months of reviewing millions of new government records. The 2011 database tracks $222.8 billion in subsidies paid from 1995 to 2010. Initially published online in 2004, the EWG Farm Subsidy Database has logged 300 million searches and been widely recognized for upending outdated perceptions about who benefits from these programs. Three of the largest longtime recipients of commodity crop subsidies continued to do well in 2010. California’s SJR Farms raked in $565,798, Louisiana’s Balmoral Farming Partnership banked $929,956 and Arizona’s Gila River Farms received $781,901...more


Senate panel votes new start for U.S. farm subsidies

U.S. farmers will get a new crop-subsidy program that protects them from ruinous declines in revenue, the biggest threat to survival with today's high and volatile prices, a Senate committee decided on Thursday. The Agriculture Committee approved the new path for the U.S. farm program by a 16-5 vote. The package would erase almost all traditional farm supports, especially the $5 billion a year "direct payment" subsidy paid regardless of cost, and save $23 billion over 10 years. Instead, an insurance-like program would compensate grain and soybean growers when revenue from a crop was 11-21 percent below the five-year average with a maximum payment of $50,000. The federally subsidized crop insurance system would cover deeper losses. Cotton growers would use a separate, but similar, program. Stabenow said the bill could be called for Senate debate in a few weeks and she aimed for enacting a new farm law before the current one expires on Sept. 30. The House of Representatives wants much bigger cuts -- $180 billion. Analysts say budget and election-year pressures may delay the new law until a post-election session or even 2013...more

Land managers, ranchers working to avert Big Open's sage grouse from listing

On a bare patch of ground 15 miles northwest of Winnett, more than 20 male sage grouse have gathered in the pre-dawn to get their strut on. Sporting spiked feathers on the backs of their necks and a wide fan of tail feathers, the birds jockey for position and puff out air sacks within their chests like pillows, causing a distinctive drumming sound when air is released. "What these guys are trying to do is show off for the girls," whispers Matt Comer, a Lewistown-based wildlife biologist with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management who watches the birds through binoculars from his pickup truck. To be sure, the exotic spring ritual — mating season peaks in April — is an entertaining show, but Comer is here to work, counting the number of birds to better focus conservation efforts in the area. Across the West, the iconic bird with the showy mating dance is experiencing population declines, and government land managers, with help from ranchers and conservation groups, are pouring tens of millions of dollars and rewriting dozens of management plans to protect habitat where the birds still thrive. The goal of the sweeping plans, occurring on both private and public lands in 11 states including Montana, is to increase the population and avert the listing of the bird as a threatened and endangered species, which experts say would bring tougher restrictions on grazing and energy development. "It would just have catastrophic impacts on our food and energy security, much of which comes out of the West," said Dave Naugle, a wildlife professor at the University of Montana who is serving as science adviser for the national sage grouse initiative headed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)...more

They are spending "tens of millions of dollars and rewriting dozens of management plans" just to keep it from being listed. This could serve as a real study of the cost of the ESA. How much has the BLM,FS,USFWS,NRCS, etc. spent so far? Then keep track of all future spending. Query the states for their spending. Would be hard for the federal agencies to dodge this one like they have for listed species.

Song Of The Day #825

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here's Kristin Scott Benson picking Sandy River Belle to get your toe tappin'.

The tune is on her 12 track CD Second Season.

US introduces $60 LED light bulb

A prize-winning light bulb that lasts for 20 years is going on sale in the US on Sunday - also known as Earth Day. Made by Dutch electronics giant Philips, the bulb swaps filaments for light-emitting diodes to provide illumination. Using LEDs endows the light with a long life and a hefty price tag. The first versions are set to cost $60 (£37). Philips has arranged discounts with shops that will sell the bulb meaning some could buy it for only $20 (£12). The bulb triumphed in the Bright Tomorrow competition run by the US Department of Energy that aimed to find an energy efficient alternative to the 60-watt incandescent light bulb. A cheaper and less efficient version of the LED bulb is already sold by Philips in the US and Europe...more

Burger King makes cage-free eggs, pork promise

Hi, I Just Caved to HSUS
In a boost to animal welfare activists looking to get livestock out of cramped cages, Burger King will be the first major U.S. fast-food chain to give all of its chickens and pigs some room to roam. On Wednesday, the world's second-biggest burger chain pledged that all of its eggs and pork will come from cage-free chickens and pigs by 2017, hoping to satisfy rising consumer demand for humanely produced fare and increase its sales in the process. Other companies have made similar but less broad announcements this year, part of an industrywide shift to consider animal welfare when buying food supplies. The hens would still be housed in a barn, but they have room to move and perches and nesting boxes. Sows are also held indoors, but they would not be confined in the cramped crates while they are pregnant. The Miami-based company has been steadily increasing its use of the eggs and pork as the industry has become better able to meet demand, said Jonathan Fitzpatrick, chief brand and operations officer. Fitzpatrick said the decision is part of the company's social responsibility policy. Animal welfare groups applauded Burger King's decision...more

Video: Green-tech bust Solyndra busted for abandoning toxic waste

Isn't the entire idea behind solar power to go "green" and help save the environment? Apparently not in the case of Solyndra. Not only did the company go bankrupt after receiving $500 million in taxpayer funding, but now workers at the Solyndra plant have left behind tons of toxic waste. CBS 5 found the building locked up, with no one around. At the back, a hazardous storage area was found. There were discarded buckets half filled with liquids and barrels labeled “hazardous waste.” The building’s owner, a company called iStar, claimed in court documents, “there may be serious environmental, health and safety issues” at the premises. According to the documents, they include, “numerous containers of solvents and chemicals…and processing equipment contaminated with lead.”...more

Here's the TV news report:

Blogger/Commentator Job Available

The Rio Grande Foundation is passing this information along to potentially-interested parties. The position is NOT with the Foundation:

Citizen Media is looking for a commentator/blogger about New Mexico
politics, policy and people.

The right person is a self-starter with sharp research, analytical and
writing skills who would work as an independent contractor, starting
May 2012. The Website will be provided. An ability to scout the
political landscape, track relevant news (particularly video-based)
and write with authority and credibility is essential. Compensation is

To see a current approach by Citizen Media in Colorado, visit

Anyone interested, please send an inquiry and published writing
samples to

Predator drones have yet to prove their worth on border

The drug runners call it "el mosco," the mosquito, and one recent evening on the southern tip of Texas, a Predator B drone armed with cameras buzzed softly over the beach on South Padre Island and headed inland. "We're going to get some bad guys tonight, I've got a feeling," said Scott Peterson, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisory air interdiction agent. He watched the drone's live video feed in the Predator Ops room at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, about 50 miles away. As the unmanned plane flew up the winding Rio Grande, which forms the border with Mexico, Peterson fielded excited phone calls. One agent had seen known scouts for a Mexican cartel at a Dairy Queen, suggesting a load of drugs was coming through. Another called in the precise spot where the shipment would land. Soon the drone's infrared camera picked up a man hauling bales of marijuana from an inflatable rubber boat into a minivan on the Texas side of the river. Then it spotted a second boat. Agents readied for a major bust. But the April 18 raid was not the success Peterson had envisioned. He wanted the drone to track the smugglers to a stash house, and perhaps to ranking cartel members. Instead, Border Patrol agents rushed to the riverbank, sirens blaring. They seized half a ton of pot, a 1996 Plymouth Voyager van and a boat. The smugglers escaped and no one was arrested. The mixed results highlight a glaring problem for Homeland Security officials who have spent six years and more than $250 million building the nation's largest fleet of domestic surveillance drones: The nine Predators that help police America's borders have yet to prove very useful in stopping contraband or illegal immigrants...more

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Commentary: Advise and dissent

by Dan Murphy

Whenever the Humane Society of the United States does anything related to the industry, producers ought to evaluate their actions with a heapin’ helping of skepticism.

That caveat applies to the activist group’s most recent initiative, the formation of an advisory group in Colorado ostensibly aimed at “promoting more humane practices on farms and ranches and to promote food producers who share that goal,” to quote the HSUS news release.

The Colorado Agriculture Council of The Humane Society of the United States, as the group is named (way to create an aura of independence by including your own name, HSUS), is supposed to pursue market opportunities for farmers and ranchers whose agricultural practices adhere to animal welfare standards, as well as “facilitate a dialogue with individual farmers, ranchers and the organizations that represent them.”

The members of the Colorado agriculture council include Mike Callicrate, livestock producer and owner of Ranch Foods Direct retail center in Colorado Springs; Matt Kautz, a Colorado poultry and egg producer; Carrie Balkcom, director of American Grassfed Association; and Brad Buchanan, a Colorado cattleman.

“As a Colorado cattle rancher, I believe family farmers and ranchers have much common ground with the [Humane Society of the United States] when it comes to the treatment of farm animals,” said Tom Parks, DVM, a veterinarian who chairs the new council. “It’s a positive step to work together to address the future of animal agriculture and find solutions to animal welfare challenges.”

Of course, there’s been a whole lot of “dialogue” going on between livestock producers and HSUS, given the group’s relentless media attacks against standard industry practices, its continual use of phony employees to capture potentially damaging video footage at production sites, feedlots and packing plants and well-funded state-by-state referenda aimed at forcing restrictions on egg, poultry and pork producers...

U.N. to investigate plight of Native Americans for first time

The UN is to conduct an investigation into the plight of US Native Americans, the first such mission in its history. The human rights inquiry led by James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous peoples, is scheduled to begin on Monday. Many of the country’s estimated 2.7 million Native Americans live in federally recognised tribal areas which are plagued with unemployment, alcoholism, high suicide rates, incest and other social problems. The UN mission is potentially contentious, with some conservatives almost certain to object to international interference in US domestic matters. Since his appointment as rapporteur in 2008, Anaya has focused on indigenous people in Central and South America. A UN statement said: “This will be the first mission to the US by an independent expert designated by the UN human rights council to report on the rights of the indigenous peoples.” Anaya, a University of Arizona professor on human rights, said: “I will examine the situation of the American Indian/Native American, Alaska Native and Hawaiian peoples against the background of the United States’ endorsement of the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.” The US signed up in 2010 to the declaration, which establishes minimum basic rights for indigenous people round the word first adopted in 2007...more

TSA pair accused of accepting bribes from drug smugglers at LA airport

Two airport security employees have been arrested on drug trafficking and corruption charges, accused of taking bribes to allow large shipments of drugs to pass through the screening process at Los Angeles airport. The pair were arrested along with two former airport screeners. Authorities said on Wednesday the screeners allowed drugs to pass through X-ray machine checkpoints in five incidents in exchange for payments of as much as $2,400. The arrests mark one of the first instances in which employees of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which oversees screening checkpoints at airports across the nation, have been accused of complicity in drug smuggling, a spokesman for the agency said...more

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Redneck runneth deep

by Julie Carter

Whoever started the rumor that rednecks have no style just simply has never spent much time in their presence. 

Why just days ago I was buzzing down the highway and as I passed the used junk store a flash of color caught my eye. Lo and behold, there stood the ultimate redneck patio table set. It is the season you know.

It was one of those large wooden cable spools, laid on its side and painted a bright neon  sunshine yellow. It was accompanied by four very yellow plastic chairs and obviously sold as a set.

It is nothing out of the ordinary to see such redneck culture in my world. I’ve come to revere the ingenuity of the lifestyle.

More often than not, frugal is carried to new heights -- or lows, depending how you look at it.  A qualified redneck is a regular patron at any and all auctions held within a two hour driving distance of home and where bargains need not have an identifiable label or use. If the price is right, it will have a new home.

One such prime example of redneckhood said that he had somehow become the proud owner of a Godzilla-size box of coffee filters. He has a percolator so does not use coffee filters. Not being wasteful, he utilized the filters as toilet paper. An added benefit was that it often kept company from over-staying their welcome.

Rednecks are born into the definition.

Some years back, I was watching the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” on television. It is very funny when you hear what is so true told in stories in which you recognize your relatives.

My son was about 10 years old at the time and after a number of Jeff Foxworthy’s  “you might be a redneck” jokes he asked, “Mom, what is a redneck?” 

I looked directly at him and said, “You are.”

He immediately laid his hand on his neck and started to ask the logical question. I quickly explained that it didn’t mean the color of his neck exactly. It was more about his closet full of camouflage clothing, the hunting stories he already had stored in his memory and dreams of owning bigger guns, more ATVs and better hunting hounds.

Like the two generations before him, he wears a tag that is supposed to explain how we think and what we like. It seems normal to us and before they came up with the label “redneck,” it had no name, except maybe “hillbilly.”

Not long after this revealing moment in family genealogy, this same boy spent some time grounded from the television except for allowable educational programming.  When I set the terms and conditions for his viewing, I had no idea how difficult it would be for this genetically predisposed redneck child to determine what was educational.

In passing through the room, I had to point out to him that “County Music Television” was not considered educational programming.

“Well okay then. Mom, is “Gunsmoke” educational?”

I knew then that the road to civilization was going to be a tricky, slippery slope. And that very likely, I wasn’t the one with the skills to teach him. After all, I was part of those redneck genetics.

Time to clean the shotgun.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Image by Karmel Timmons

Judged by what is right … or what we do?

Adams Doctrine
Judged by what is right … or what we do?
Water, mammary Supports and free ranging Chickens
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            Many of us have come to recognize secularism is a religion. It has all the character of any religion complete with saints, and apostles, prophets, and, of course, the precious deity.
            The deity forms the basis of the greatest distinction that separates it from Christianity. That distinction is the focus and the object of the adulation.
In the case of environmental secularism, ‘object’ gives way to ‘objects’, and those objects are constantly transforming. Today, it could be a loveable, intrinsic fuzz ball. To deep thinking subjects of the extrinsic domain, tomorrow it could be a viewscape of a sewer farm.
The intrinsic objects range from the sun itself, to spike dace and loach minnows, wolves, and even prairie chickens. The extrinsic counterparts can get even more complicated. They could range from abortion rights to the objections of the use of leaf blowers. Bottom line, there is something new to each and every secularist each and every moment … it is simply the prerogative of the new secularist to declare his or her newest object of adulation!
The Adams Doctrine
For too long, too many conscientious Americans have been snookered into believing there are certain constants that cannot be challenged. Here in parched New Mexico, we have become locked into the mindset our water supply is finite, what we have is what we get, and for all of eternity we have to continue to trim our meager portion for the good of all.
To this, I must defer to John Adams. Idiosyncrasies aside, anybody who could run a farm, maintain a legal practice, contribute the astounding body of ideas and foundation that became fundamental to our political system, and maintain a life long, loving relationship with his wife was a man of qualities that we should all emulate.
It is profound that President Adams was a nonbeliever of the premise we should pray only for what we perceive is right. His belief was we could pray for what we perceive as right, but, if we didn’t act, no amount of divine intervention would ever help us.
Rather, his belief was predicated on the creator’s gift of freewill to us for us to act on our own behalf to change our lives and our predicaments. In the Adams belief system, we are to be judged not on the basis of our purity of thought, but on the purity and resourcefulness of our actions.  Even if we are wrong, we will still be judged on the courage and commitment to prevail.
Think of that. Adams believed a man could spend a lifetime enduring what he perceived was adherence to the high road, but, without self action to correct the problem, no amount of praying will save him.
There is such abundant relief in that!
Gila Fever
The folks in the New Mexico watershed of the Gila River have long lived with the long knives of the New Age secularists. The latter can be spotted variously but they first arrived in the ‘60s. They became more abundant in the decades since. Today, they entrenched in a network of national influence. Too many of them still think that free ranging chickens and mammary truss assists are incongruous!
In a settlement with the State of Arizona, New Mexico was awarded additional 14,000 acre feet of Gila River water, annually. The award remains conditional on the capture and storage of flood water. There is a deadline to act and the time is running out. A real threat to the loss of the settlement is looming.
The folks trying to make something happen face a dual problem. The first is the polarization of New Mexico congressional leadership. The second stems from the Church of Secularism doctrine impasse.
The Gila is a free flowing river. It is a wonderful place. I know. I call Cliff, New Mexico my real heritage home. Most of the things I hold dear were derived from my childhood spent there with my grandparents. Solutions, though, are best fashioned for the benefit of a community that can support itself. The secular alternative threatens all self support.
‘Can’t’ is the byline. In every approach, a viable solution is being squelched. In every alternative, an environmental obstacle surfaces to block an idea and a solution. Secularists don’t want solutions. They want control and they must have division to maintain control.
Then their propaganda machine goes to work. In the press are reoccurring references to the abstract concept of the real need for the water. No, a desert community doesn’t need 14,000 acre feet of water! What were those folks thinking anyway?
To the Butte and a bigger picture
Water constraints in New Mexico aren’t confined to the Gila. The storage in the state’s largest reservoir, Elephant Butte, remains near historical low levels. The snow pack of the southern Rockies and the Rio Grande watershed is dismal. Water users in the Elephant Butte Water District are expecting to receive six acre inches for the year. That is two and a half acre feet under what is considered a normal allocation.
Politics has played into the edginess as the United States has forced the release of waters demanded downstream by Mexico. All sides are posturing and fidgeting under the specter of an increasing conflict. Does a water war loom on the Rio Grande?
How about the West?
How about the world?
It can be documented that drought and its aftermath with famine pose the greatest natural risk to all of mankind. In the drought of October, 2010 to October, 2011 our ranch received 1.75” of rain. We thought we were hard hit.
In the same period, the drought in Somalia was yet more devastating. As much as 80% of all livestock owned by nomadic tribesmen died of starvation. As many as 50,000 people died and as many as 13 million needed assistance.
Drought can be horrendous, but it is also the most manageable of all natural disasters. A hurricane cannot be tamed nor can a tornado, a tsunami, or even a hailstorm. We can manage drought, though, and we are managing it more effectively than most suspect or give credit.
 We have and we can build water supply infrastructure. We can and we have engineered delivery systems. We can and we have contained floods. We can and we have learned to convert drought conditions to centers of recreation and national pastimes.
As last year’s historic floods in the Mississippi basin were being chronicled daily on national news, New Mexicans simply could not comprehend the amount of water flowing through those relief structures along the river. There was idle speculation there was enough water boiling through those gates to fill Elephant Butte in a couple of days.
We were wrong. There was enough water boiling through one of those gates in Louisiana to fill the more than 2.3 million acre foot pool at Elephant Butte in 18 hours!
Such factors reveal a larger truth. We are only temporarily water short. We have come to the next series of constraints and must deal with the issue.
Our situation today is not unlike those folks who first tried to farm in the Rio Grande Valley before the dam was built. It was the same in the Phoenix Valley and every other valley across the West. None of those early settlers could have envisioned what was done when free and independent men were allowed to act to create managed systems for the control and distribution to life giving water.
The reality is we have been conditioned to believe that our system is at its zenith … that what water supply we have is all we are entitled to get under the secular manuscript of morality.
The Adams persistence
The environmental agenda has hamstrung us because we are trapped in the deficient juxtaposition of the Adams doctrine. We pray for relief in various forms of actions that have not and will not solve our problems. Solutions will come only from the allowance to act, and, more importantly, the direct actions of motivated, issue focused free and independent men and women.
If you believe in that premise you must also believe in the inherent mechanism for self correction. Each constraint revealed will prompt a new and issue focused body of free and independent men and women.
Can this be tested? It has … enough logic was built into our system that the system has survived the onslaught of the secularists from the onset of our history. We have survived in spite of them!
Are there modern era prophets? If there are, there must be several from that body of men who conceived the concepts of our system, and … John Adams must be included.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “I have come to admire men who seek not help from many, but prefer the trust of few.”



Baxter Black: World without cows difficult to imagine

Can you imagine a world without cows?

In 1535, Francisco Coronado brought cows into what is now the United States. He crossed the border 40 miles south of Benson, Ariz., with horses and cows. Some think he went as far as Kansas. Looking for a good veterinarian, I guess.

In the ensuing five centuries, the domestic bovine has mooed itself into virtually every county in the western hemisphere. But, for the sake of our initial question, what if we had been conquered by marauding Latvians, Amazonian dart blowers or a powerful vegetarian brokerage firm in Fiji who did not bring cattle into the country and/or prohibited their importation?

My first observation is, there would be no Big Macs! Beef, milk and cheese might not be available in abundance. Would we have tried to domesticate deer, buffalo, elk, wild goats or moose? We’d hear, “Pork, it’s what’s for dinner!” “Where’s the Mutton?” “Goat, the other white meat!” “Got okra?” and “Certified Angus Drumstick.”

“I’ll have a fungus burger with shredded Styrofoam and a side of those Thistle Poppers.”

“Does your horsemeat pudding come with splashguards? I’ll have some cold mutton gravy with hair in it.”

Three Choices


The death of superstition

by Lee Pitts

I've never been very superstitious. I've never used the services of a fortune teller, shaman or palm reader and I think the predictions offered up by a star gazer are as reliable as the defroster in my old 1964 Chevy pickup was. And Chinese food advice is as hollow as the inside of the fortune cookie it comes in.

I don't eat black-eyed peas on New Year's, or any other day for that matter, and other than having a fear of heights, I'd have no trouble staying on the 13th floor of a hotel, if they had them. I even wore jersey number 13 when my basketball coach in high school assigned it to me. I don't carry on my person a lucky penny, four leaf clover or rabbit's foot and black cats and ladders don't scare me.

Knock on wood, of course.

I don't know why these superstitions have been handed down from one generation to the next or why farmers and ranchers in the old days thought they were so important for their economic and physical well being. I can't for the life of me understand why otherwise smart people would plant their crop only when oak leaves were the size of a squirrel's ear, or that planting a cow's horn on your property would make your land any more fertile than a good load of cow manure would.

Fortunately, I don't believe that kid's today have a working knowledge of all this balderdash and they are much too smart anyway to believe in such witchcraft. We're all getting better at understanding that sometimes positive results are not the result of silly superstitions, but of simple science. Take, for example, the case of what I call “The Curse of the Dead Champions.”

Many years ago there was a bull sale in the west that many ranchers thought was jinxed. This was because the Ideal Range Bull, the bull determined to be the best of all the entrants, seemed to always die shortly after some rancher had paid a lot of money for him. Every year when I'd arrive at the sale to work ring a rancher friend who everyone called “Speedy” was eager tell me of the latest misfortune to befall last year's champion. According to Speedy, past champions had died of strange diseases, been run over by a train, shot by deer hunters, stolen by a drug ring and one was drug to death, if you can imagine that horror. Every year's death seemed to be more horrific than the last and word of the of the dead champion's jinx spread like wildfire.


I always heard it was bad luck to be superstitious.

Four Horsemen of the American Apocalypse


Song Of The Day #824

Today's Gospel tune on Ranch Radio is The Right Hand of Fellowship by Cordle, Jackson & Salley.

The song is on their 13 track CD Lonesome Cafe.

Friday, April 27, 2012

New Mexico off to 10th driest start in 2012

New Mexico saw little measureable moisture during the first three months of the year, and with less water coursing through the state's rivers, farmers are beginning to feel the pinch again this year as they scramble to find ways of watering tens of thousands of acres of cropland. Forecasters with the National Weather Service and state and federal officials addressed the lack of moisture during a regular drought meeting Wednesday in Albuquerque. This is nothing new for a state that has seen more dry starts than wet ones for the last 12 years. So far this year, forecasters said New Mexico has seen less than half of its normal precipitation. Last year, it was even worse. "Only 2010 and 2005 were wet starts to the first three months of the calendar year, so basically we should be getting used to this dry start thing," said meteorologist Ed Polasko. New Mexico and Texas, two of the hardest hit states last year, are now not alone in 2012. National drought maps show dry conditions creeping across a bigger portion of the West, as well as parts of the upper Midwest and the entire East Coast. By mid-April, not one speck of land in New Mexico had escaped categorization as either abnormally or exceptionally dry — or somewhere in between....more

Song Of The Day #823

Today Ranch Radio brings you Jim Reeves and his 1953 recording Wagon Load of Love.

Iceberg!  Iceberg!

Navajo community banks on proposed solar array

This flat, dusty stretch of prairie in central New Mexico is where the leaders of a remote, sparsely populated American Indian community envision a sea of solar panels capable of producing enough electricity for more than 10,000 homes miles away from the reservation. The To'Hajiilee solar project is one of 19 energy projects that will share in $6.5 million recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to spur renewable energy development on tribal lands. About two-thirds of the money is earmarked for tribes in the West, and most of that will be going toward getting projects in New Mexico and Arizona off the ground. Over the last decade, $36 million has been doled out for nearly 160 projects from Alaska to Maine as part of the DOE's Tribal Energy Program. This year's grants come as Congress considers new measures aimed at reducing the bureaucratic hurdles tribes face in developing their resources and as the Obama administration looks for ways to speed up the leasing of land for clean energy projects...more

Govt backs off new limits on child labor on farms

Under heavy pressure from farm groups, the Obama administration is dropping an effort to prevent children from doing hazardous work on farms owned by anyone other than their parents. The Labor Department says it is withdrawing proposed rules that would ban children younger than 16 from using most power-driven equipment. The rules also would prevent those younger than 18 from working in feed lots, grain bins and stockyards. The agency says thousands of comments have expressed concern about the impact of the changes on small family-owned farms. Many farm groups have complained that the rules would upset traditions in which children often work alongside relatives other than parents to learn how a farm operates. Government officials have said their goal was to protect children from life-threatening injuries. AP

Ask yourself: What will happen of Obama is re-elected?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Making a Hash of the Second Amendment

Harvard historian Jill Lepore has a piece attacking gun rights in the latest New Yorker, and a follow-up post on the magazine’s website. Most of it is basically what you’d expect: some numbers about gun violence, some horrifying anecdotes about people who’ve misused guns, some reporting from a gun range, some artsy writing (“a gun is a machine made to fire a missile that can bore through flesh”), and an overarching history of the gun-rights movement. More irksome, however, is Lepore’s analysis of the Second Amendment’s meaning. By leaving out or misrepresenting key historical details, she shortchanges the idea that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. There are three theories that have played a significant role in the debate on the Second Amendment. One holds that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. Another might be called the “limited individual right” or “civic right” theory, which holds that even though individuals have the right to bear arms, the right applies only in the context of militia service. (Some advocates of this theory compare the right to bear arms with the right to serve on a jury.) The third, the “collective right” theory, posits that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” refers to the right of state governments to form militias. This last idea is patently ridiculous, suggesting as it does that the Founders used the word “people” when they meant “states.” And yet this was the theory that swept through the appeals courts in the decades leading up to the 2008 Heller decision, in which the Supreme Court endorsed the individual-right theory. The source of the confusion seems to be the 1939 Supreme Court case United States v. Miller — and Lepore doesn’t help to clarify matters...more

Song Of The Day #822

Today Ranch Radio brings you Johnny Bond performing Louisiana Lucy.

The tune was recorded on April 23, 1953 in Hollywood, Ca.

Judge suspends horse packing in wilderness

Horse packing in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks is on hold because a San Francisco judge says the parks are violating the federal Wilderness Act. The issue percolated for years before exploding last month, leaving packers one chance in May to forestall a ban that many say will cripple their industry. Wednesday, Rep. Devin Nunes stoked the fire by blaming the Obama administration for caving to environmentalists and not pushing for a compromise. Sequoia & Kings Canyon Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich wrote in a March 12 letter to 16 pack stations that no permits would be issued until the matter is resolved in federal court. More than two dozen other businesses that operate within the park are also affected. These include back-country trips booked through REI, Outward Bound or any other commercial guide services. The park's action came as a shock to pack station owners just as their phones are starting to ring from customers interested in booking summer trips. "It's pretty distressing," said Woodlake-based Horse Corral Pack Station owner Charley Mills, who estimated wilderness trips comprised 90% of his business."We're on pins and needles about this summer." Whether horse packers will be allowed to continue services into the parks' wilderness areas will be determined in a federal courtroom. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg, presiding over a 3-year-old lawsuit between the High Sierra Hikers Association and the National Park Service, has set a May 23 hearing to determine the next step. On Jan. 24, Seeborg ruled the National Park Service violated the Wilderness Act because its 2007 general management plan for Sequoia & Kings Canyon does not specifically determine to what extent commercial stock are necessary in wilderness areas. More than 97% of Sequoia & Kings Canyon's jointly managed 865,964 acres are designated wilderness and thus protected from development and overuse by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Last spring, the parks began preparing a Wilderness Stewardship Plan that will establish the extent that commercial services such as pack stock belong in wilderness. That plan probably won't be set until 2015. Pack station owners are hoping for quick resolution at the May 23 hearing, but it's unclear whether the judge will require further deliberations...more

Read more here:

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Assault on Food

Instinct tells us to fear poison. If our ancestors were not cautious about what they put in their mouths, they would not have survived long enough to produce us.
Unfortunately, a side effect of that cautious impulse is that whenever someone claims that some chemical -- or food ingredient, like fat -- is a menace, we are primed to believe it. That makes it easy for government to leap in and play the role of protector. But for every study that says X is bad for you, another study disagrees. How is a layman to decide? I used to take consumer activists' word for it. Heck, they want to save the world, while industry just wants to get rich. Now I know better. The activists want money, too -- and fame. To arbitrate, it's intuitive to turn to government -- except ... government scientists have conflicts, too. Who becomes a regulator except people who want to regulate? Some come from activist groups that hate industry. Some come from industry and want to convert their government job into a higher-paying industry job. Some just want attention. They know that saying, "X will kill you," gets more attention than saying that X is probably safe. I don't suggest that we ignore the experts and eat like pigs. But the scientific question should not overshadow the more fundamental issue. Who should decide what you can eat: you? Or the state? Should government decide what we may eat, any more than it decides where we live or how long our hair will be? The Food Police claim that they just want to help us make informed choices. But that's not all they want to do. They try to get government to force us to make healthy choices. The moral issue of force versus persuasion applies even if all the progressives' ideas about nutrition are correct. Even if I would be better off eating no fat and salt, that would not justify forcing restaurants to stop serving me those things. Either we live in a free society or we don't...more

EPA Official Compares Agency Enforcement to Roman Crucifixions

A video surfaced on Wednesday showing a regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency comparing his agency’s philosophy with respect to regulation of oil and gas companies to brutal tactics employed by the ancient Roman army to intimidate its foes into submission. EPA’s “philosophy of enforcement,” said EPA’s Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz, is “kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them.” “That town was really easy to manage for the next few years,” Armendariz added. His comments are indicative of the “EPA’s war on fossil fuels,” claimed Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) in a news release on Wednesday. Inhofe reiterated the remarks in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon. Armendariz’s comments, Inhofe said, “give us a rare glimpse of the Obama administration’s true agenda.” The region over which Armendariz has authority includes Inhofe’s home state of Oklahoma.

NM is also in Region VI.

Both videos are here.

Salazar: Utah just playing politics in land fight

Top Interior Department officials, including Secretary Ken Salazar, slammed Utah’s elected leaders Tuesday for waging a campaign to take control of most federal lands, arguing the move is nothing more than a political stunt to appease conservative voters. And at the same time, Salazar promised to return to the Beehive State in the next few weeks to tout agreements on two new gas fields expected to bring nearly 5,000 additional wells to eastern Utah. Salazar spoke briefly with The Salt Lake Tribune about a new Utah law promising a lawsuit if Washington doesn’t transfer all federal lands not designated as wilderness or as a national park to state control by 2014. The effort has the backing of top Utah officials, including Gov. Gary Herbert, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop, and it emerged as a major theme at Saturday’s state GOP convention. Salazar sees it all as nothing but show. "From my point of view, it defies common sense," he said. "I think it is political rhetoric you see in an election year. The fact is, Utah is a great example of where, through the use of public lands, we are creating thousands and thousands of jobs." U.S. Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey also questioned Utah’s anti-fed movement, saying it detracts from efforts to craft consensus on land conflicts on a county-by-county basis — as happened in Washington County several years ago. Bishop, chairman of a public lands subcommittee, asked if Salazar and Abbey were performing a "comedy routine" and said that Salazar has repeatedly made it difficult for Utah to access natural resources to raise money for public education...more

Utah sues over bird refuge boundaries

A decades-old quarrel about the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge has landed in court. The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands is suing the U.S. Interior Department, along with its agencies, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management, in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on the question of where state land ends and federal land begins at the 83-year-old refuge on the Great Salt Lake. "We don’t have any interest in disturbing the refuge," explained Mike Anderson, an assistant attorney general, who noted the case — involving about half the sanctuary’s 74,000 acres — is separate from the take-back-federal-lands movement sweeping Utah. Anderson said state attorneys have been negotiating with their federal counterparts for years about the refuge. Included in the court papers is a 2000 letter from then-Attorney General Jan Graham’s office to then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, threatening a suit over the boundaries. "Presently the United States occupies and manages lands below the meander line in derogation of the state’s right to do so, the most notable example being the continued occupation of major portions of the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge," said the letter from Stephen G. Boyden, an assistant attorney general. "The state claims ownership to all lands below the meander line purportedly held in the name of the United States or its successors in interest." The suit also mentions a 2007 bill passed by the Utah Legislature repealing statutes from 1927 and 1929 that gave the federal government authority to use state lands as a bird refuge. Questions about ownership of the lake even went in 1976 to the U.S. Supreme Court, where justices determined the lake bedwas owned by the state, but competing claims over parts of the refuge persisted...more

Enviros blast Utah's RS2477 claims to 'roads to nowhere'

A coalition of environmental groups said Utah's claims to rights of way on thousands upon thousands of roads, routes or trails are an "absolute travesty" being pursued despite economic folly and disastrous environmental consequences. The legal battle over so-called RS2477 roads amped Tuesday to a new level after groups such as the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and the Sierra Club unveiled a map depicting the extent of Utah's claims. "You've heard of the bridge to nowhere? Well, these are roads to nowhere," said Heidi McIntosh, SUWA's associate director and counsel. "They aren't even really roads." Joined by the Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance, the National Parks Conservation Association, a private property owner and others, McIntosh said Utah is embarking on a costly, foolhardy legal fight to assert rights to roads so it can grade, pave and improve them...more

El Paso man fined $2 millions for starting fire with toilet paper

Rodrigo Ulloa-Esquivel, 30, of El Paso, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $2,681,492.04 in restitution for leaving a fire in the Lincoln National Forest unattended. Ulloa-Esquivel, who pled guilty to the misdemeanor offense on October 28, 2011, also must complete 200 hours of community service. The sentence was handed down in Las Cruces Tuesday. U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Ulloa-Esquivel was indicted on August 17, 2011 on criminal offenses arising out of a wildfire that burned through the Last Chance Canyon of the Lincoln National Forest in Eddy County, N.M. (Last Chance Fire), in late April and early May of 2011. In his plea agreement, Ulloa-Esquivel admitted that, on April 24, 2011, he lit toilet paper on fire near a campsite at the Last Chance Canyon in the area known as the Guadalupe Ranger District in the Lincoln National Forest even though he knew that there were fire restrictions in place for that area. Because the wind was blowing hard, sparks from the burning toilet paper spread beyond Ulloa-Esquivel's ability to control the fire. After Ulloa-Esquivel and his friends tried unsuccessfully to extinguish the fire, they left the area without calling the U.S. Forest Service or local authorities to report the fire...more

Utility pulls out of Idaho wind farm project likely killing it

NV Energy has decided to back out of what would have been the largest wind farm in Idaho. The Nevada utility was working with RES America Development to build the China Mountain Wind Project with anywhere from 170 to 200 wind turbines in Elko County and Idaho. But the BLM deferred a decision on the project earlier this year while it considered how to keep sage grouse from listing under the Endangered Species Act. The decision by the utility likely ends the project that was expected to generate up to 425 megawatts of electricity on more than 25,500 acres of BLM-administered lands and 10,700 acres of State and private lands on the Idaho-Nevada border south of Twin Falls...more

The Perils of a Taxpayer in a Foreign Land

by Ed Ashurst

“The border is not a fence or a line in the dirt…it is a third country that joins Mexico and the United States.”

Quote by David Aguilar, Chief Border Patrol Agent under the Obama-Napolitano regime.

     The above statement made by Obama’s head Border Patrol agent set off a firestorm of controversy and anger from everyone except those encamped in the midst of the radical left and guaranteed Mr. Anguilar a permanent seat at the current administrations round table that has been graced with the likes of Tony Rezko, James Meeks, Sam Graham-Felsen, Van Jones and others. Given the U. S. Border Patrol’s already tenebrous mission statement, coming from controversial characters like Aguilar, Napotitano and even the President himself, one can’t help but question what is the true course of action we are pursuing on the Mexican border. In the next paragraphs I will leave innuendo and commentary behind and stick to documented facts. You and your imagination can do the rest.
    Since February 21, 2012 until today, April 20, 2012, in a 12 mile stretch at the international boundary starting at Naco, Arizona and going west to the San Pedro River there have been no less than 10 drive-through loads of narcotics breaching the new steel fence that is 13 feet high. This same fence is the one that many thought would be a cure-all solution to our current smuggling problem.
    One of the first drive-throughs traversed the bottom of a mesquite infested wash where whole crews of Mexican outlaws felled trees and bridged arroyos creating a road through the wilderness north to highway 92 some 3 miles distant. By drive-through I mean Mexican Cartel agents cutting truck size holes in the metal barrier facilitating the passing of whole truck loads of dope headed north to parts unknown.
    The last three of these ten loads of narcotics, which average 1000 to 1500 pounds per load, passed through a freshly cut hole on Sunday night April 15, 2012. All ten loads negotiated the supposed sealed border within one mile of each other and all were less than one half mile from a Border Patrol camera that is on top of a tower 85 feet in the air. At that distance these cameras costing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to install and maintain can easily read a license plate on a car or see the expression on a man’s face.
    All ten of these truck loads of dope passed through a cattle ranch owned by a family who has made their living raising cattle on this same property going back to the late 1800’s. At the east end of the ranch lies the border town of Naco whose main industry is the Naco Border Patrol Station which boasts somewhere in the vicinity of 400 agents. The ranch owners long ago cooperated with the Border Patrol and welcomed the installation of four of these mega expensive ultra high tech cameras which are supposedly monitored 24/7 at the Naco Border Patrol station a short distance away.
    When questioned by the rancher the Border Patrol’s excuse for this breach of security was that “no agents were available to respond.” The fact is that they had all been sent to the northern boundaries, wherever that is, of Aguilar’s imaginary Third Kingdom.
    Within a few days Border Patrol agents in Naco will be moving into a newly constructed station that cost the American taxpayer, including Third Kingdom residents, 42 million dollars to build. Among other important amenities it will include an indoor shooting range with a 14 million dollar price tag. According to a recent article in the Arizona Commercial Real Estate online newspaper the new station has been built to “Anti-Terrorist Force Protection standards.” Oh really?
    Since 1992 there have been on this one cattle ranch, where the aforementioned dope passed, no less than 500 thousand illegal aliens apprehended. By their own admission the Border Patrol catches no more than 20 percent that cross the border. Since Obama became president they apprehend fewer than that. You can’t have low numbers if you catch large quantities. That means upward of two and a half million people have traversed this one family’s property. Whether you live within the confines of a gated community in Scottsdale or on an Illinois corn farm you should be able to relate. Imagine having two and a half million people tromping through your corn field uninvited. For good measure throw in a few dozen $60,000 Ford Raptor pick-ups with Border Patrol insignia on the doors crashing about your property piloted by agents in green uniforms who having a high level of testosterone and a low level of respect for you and your corn destroying everything in their path.
    Why should border ranchers who grow calves instead of corn have to continually hump up and take it while Middle America sits idly by and does nothing? I am not Paul Revere but I have a message for you: the Mexican Cartels are not coming, they are here, aided by ambiguous ideology and total disdain for constitutional law coming from leftist bureaucrats who have a corrupt axe to grind. The cartels move through a virtual open door. It astounds me that the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, which is supposed to be cattle ranching’s biggest and most powerful lobby, hasn't come forth with more support for their constituents who live in close proximity to the border.
    In Frederick Bastiat’s book The Law he states and I quote, “to say that the aim of the law is to cause justice to reign is to use an expression which is not rigorously exact. It ought to be said, the aim of law is to prevent injustice from reigning. In fact, it is not justice which has an existence of its own, it is injustice. The one results from the absence from the other.” The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security are in the business of creating unjust policies financed by taxpayer dollars, a good example being the derailed and ill-advised Fast and Furious program. David Aguilar’s self-proclaimed concept of a third country, which is wholeheartedly supported by the Department of Homeland Security is not only completely devoid of justice it is a gross violation of the constitution itself. Because of this odyssey into a hinterland of undefined proportions Border Patrol agents are allowed, even ordered, to abandon the line in the dirt, as Aguilar calls it, and take their dog and pony show north to parts unknown leaving gaping and bleeding holes which they try to hide with gesticulations of fatigue and cries for more funding and equipment: if we just had a better helicopter, or perhaps another 14 million dollar shooting range.
    Recently Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen introduced legislation proposing a volunteer militia trained by law enforcement and deployed to aid in the patrol of the border itself. She has received very little support and much criticism. The truth is the only time in history the Mexican border has been sealed is when the Minutemen peacefully and lawfully sat down and occupied the border itself in 2007; right there on the ground within arms reach of the line in the dirt that Aguilar says doesn’t exist. The U.S. Border Patrol did, do, and always will hate the Minutemen and others like them. They accomplished what the Border Patrol claimed couldn’t be done. Aguilar and his union-protected Brownshirts aren’t programmed for success. Personally I applaud Senator Allen for thinking outside the box that bureaucrats and gangster politicians have us all incarcerated in.
    On February 24, 2012 I attended, along with numerous Cochise County ranchers, a meeting at the stupendously opulent Tucson Sector Office Complex and Headquarters. This multi-cathedral-like edifice which cost untold millions to construct is completely devoid of any signs of economic recession; taxpayer dollars literally grow on the shrubs outside and ooze out of the finery within. Tucson Sector Chief Rick Barlow was in attendance along with the chiefs from the Douglas, Willcox, Naco, Sonoita, and Nogales stations. Two government attorneys were in attendance representing the Border Patrol’s interests. The Arizona Cattlegrower’s Association was present in support of the ranchers who were allowed to speak and voice certain grievances.
    A certain Cochise County rancher (not myself) related to all present at this meeting that they were well acquainted with David Aguilar who was at one time the Tucson Sector Chief. This individual went on to say that he (Aguilar) was a most dishonest and corrupt individual (their words not mine) and the Border Patrol had taken a visible turn for the worse under his leadership. In wonder I observed this communication and couldn’t help but notice the lack of denial. The Tucson Sector top brass along with attorneys who no doubt were experts in constitutional law sat in silence with no visible expression of anger or insult, but instead bore a melancholy countenance, not unlike one drinking vinegar.
    Ten truck loads of marijuana coming undisturbed out of Mexico upon reaching Phoenix, Denver or your hometown would have a street value of 10 to15 million dollars. Could there be something fishy going on here? Oh, but wait! I promised to stick to the facts, the facts, the facts, the facts…………. You supply the imagination.

Apache, Arizona
April 20, 2012

Las Vegas Water Permits Appeals Filed By Environmental Groups, Indian Tribes

A ruling that granted Southern Nevada Water Authority approval to pump billions of gallons of water from rural areas along the Nevada-Utah line will head back to court after appeals were filed by environmental groups, local governments, Indian tribes, ranchers and others. The legal challenges were filed Friday and Monday in Ely and Pioche over state Engineer Jason King's ruling in March granting the water authority permission to pump up to 84,000 acre-feet of water a year from the Spring, Dry Lake, Cave and Delamar valleys to supplement Las Vegas' limited supply from Lake Mead. Under the ruling, water would be piped to Las Vegas through a 300-mile, multibillion dollar project that has yet to be built and still requires permits from the U.S Bureau of Land Management. J.C. Davis, spokesman for the water authority, said the appeals were not unexpected. But he said the state engineer's ruling was based on exhaustive analysis and predicted the water right applications would ultimately be upheld by the courts...more

Song Of The Day #821

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here is the 1953 recording of He Fiddled While I Burned by Charline Arthur.

Note:  Well, this was supposed to be on Monday.  OpenDrive changed everything over the weekend and this is the first time my music files have worked.

Why tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a bad idea

Gas prices have more than doubled under President Obama, a feat unmatched even by Jimmy Carter. Understandably worried about the upcoming election, some congressional Democrats and at least one former administration official have been floating the idea that the president should release oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a way to lower prices. Any price reduction caused by a withdrawal of oil from the reserve will be temporary. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, U.S. oil consumption was about 18.8 million barrels per day in 2009, the last year for which figures are available. The reserve inventory currently stands at just under 700 million barrels, representing just 39 days of U.S. consumption. Last year, Obama released 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve—the largest withdrawal ever—as part of a 60 million barrel release coordinated by the International Energy Agency. This massive release, in response to supply disruptions in Libya and other countries during the “Arab Spring” revolts, flooded the market last summer, but by January prices were on their way back up again. Never before has a president released oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve without having replaced previous withdrawals. But, already carrying a $1.3 trillion deficit, Obama has not been able to replace last year’s drawdown. To withdraw from the reserve two years in a row would be unprecedented; moreover, further reduction of our strategic reserve would increase the risk of a serious shortage in the event of a real emergency. This is far from the only problem with using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a campaign tool. According to the law, withdrawals from the reserve “may not be made unless … required by a severe energy supply interruption.”...more

Universities, cops, manufacturers all want drones of their own

Dozens of state law-enforcement agencies and universities have been flying and experimenting with drones throughout U.S. airspace, according to Freedom of Information Act requests obtained by advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation. The data highlights widening applications of drones in domestic skies and the growing interest in unmanned technology in research laboratories. Cities and municipalities with active authorizations to fly drones include the Ogden Police Department in Utah, the Mesa County Sheriff's office in Colorado and the Polk County Sheriff's office in Florida. The Otter Tail County in Minn., and Georgia Tech Police Department had applied for an authorization, but had been rejected, according to collated Google Maps data. The list of educational institutions that have been testing unmanned aerial vehicles include Cornell University, the University of Colorado, Georgia Tech and Eastern Gateway Community College. The documents also offers insights into drones tested by manufacturers and contractors such as Raytheon and Aurora Flight Sciences Corp. The requested records provide registration numbers, which when plugged into flight tracker FlightAware, spits out data about engine specifications and when the authorizations were issued...more

Did Obama’s EPA relaunch Tuskegee experiments?

Which do you find more shocking: that the Environmental Protection Agency conducts experiments on humans that its own risk assessments would deem potentially lethal, or that it hides the results of those experiments from Congress and the public because they debunk those very same risk assessments? recently obtained through the Freedom of Information Act the results of tests conducted on 41 people who were exposed by EPA researchers to high levels of airborne fine particulate matter - soot and dust known as PM2.5. If we are to believe the congressional testimony of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, these experiments risked the lives of these 41 people, at least one of whom was already suffering from heart problems. Ms. Jackson testified in September before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, “Particulate matter causes premature death. It doesn’t make you sick. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should.” Just to clarify what Ms. Jackson meant by “sooner than you should,” deaths allegedly caused by PM2.5 are supposed to occur within a day or so of exposure. Got that? Airborne dust and soot don’t make you sick, they just kill you - virtually upon exposure. EPA particulate matter assertions notwithstanding, PM2.5 killed none of the study subjects, and the two experiments that were stopped can likely be explained by causes other than PM2.5. You might think that the EPA would have shared these “surprising” results with the public and Congress, particularly as they seem to contradict the agency’s claims about the lethality of PM2.5. But you would be wrong...more

Limbaugh goes after feds on wilderness - video

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

4th case of BSE found in U.S.

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2012 - USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford today released the following statement on the detection of BSE in the United States:

"As part of our targeted surveillance system, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the nation's fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a dairy cow from central California. The carcass of the animal is being held under State authority at a rendering facility in California and will be destroyed. It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health. Additionally, milk does not transmit BSE.

"The United States has had longstanding interlocking safeguards to protect human and animal health against BSE. For public health, these measures include the USDA ban on specified risk materials, or SRMs, from the food supply. SRMs are parts of the animal that are most likely to contain the BSE agent if it is present in an animal. USDA also bans all nonambulatory (sometimes called "downer") cattle from entering the human food chain. For animal health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on ruminant material in cattle feed prevents the spread of the disease in the cattle herd.

"Evidence shows that our systems and safeguards to prevent BSE are working, as are similar actions taken by countries around the world. In 2011, there were only 29 worldwide cases of BSE, a dramatic decline and 99% reduction since the peak in 1992 of 37,311 cases. This is directly attributable to the impact and effectiveness of feed bans as a primary control measure for the disease.

"Samples from the animal in question were tested at USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. Confirmatory results using immunohistochemistry and western blot tests confirmed the animal was positive for atypical BSE, a very rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.

"We are sharing our laboratory results with international animal health reference laboratories in Canada and England, which have official World Animal Health (OIE) reference labs. These labs have extensive experience diagnosing atypical BSE and will review our confirmation of this form of the disease. In addition, we will be conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation in conjunction with California animal and public health officials and the FDA.

"BSE is a progressive neurological disease among cattle that is always fatal. It belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Affected animals may display nervousness or aggression, abnormal posture, difficulty in coordination and rising, decreased milk production, or loss of body weight despite continued appetite.

"This detection in no way affects the United States' BSE status as determined by the OIE. The United States has in place all of the elements of a system that OIE has determined ensures that beef and beef products are safe for human consumption: a mammalian feed ban, removal of specified risk materials, and vigorous surveillance. Consequently, this detection should not affect U.S. trade.

"USDA remains confident in the health of the national herd and the safety of beef and dairy products. As the epidemiological investigation progresses, USDA will continue to communicate findings in a timely and transparent manner."

Salazar: House Republicans live in “imagined energy world,” says they are members of a “flat earth” society

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar sharply rebuked House Republicans Tuesday, calling them “charter members of the flat earth society” and saying they are living in an “imagined energy world … of fairy tales” in striking a balance between energy development and preserving lands. “It’s an invention of campaign years and political rhetoric. It’s a place where you hear cries of drill, drill, drill, not withstanding the fact that most of the outer continental shelf resources are open for business,” Salazar said in a speech at the National Press Club. “It’s a place where up is seen as down, where left is seen as right, where oil shale seems to be mistaken every day in the U.S. House of Representative for shale oil, where record profits justify billions of dollars in subsidies.” Salazar has been at war with House Republicans, particularly those on the Natural Resources Committee, about the Administration’s alacrity and openness in increasing domestic energy production. He has been criticized in hearings for the moratorium in the Gulf and for pushing oil and gas companies to disclose what they use in hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” Salazar said Tuesday that “in the real world” natural gas production is at an all-time high and domestic oil production is at an eight-year high. He said in the last year alone, the U.S. imported one million fewer barrels of oil a day. Salazar also said renewable energy production has doubled in two years...more

Discovery of Indian artifacts complicates Genesis solar project

The Feb. 27 letter from the chairman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes was pleading and tough. It asked President Obama to slow the federal government's "frantic pursuit" of massive solar energy projects in the Mojave Desert because of possible damage to Native American cultural resources. The Obama administration didn't respond. But four days after Chairman Eldred Enas sent the letter, the Indians say they found an answer, delivered by spirits of the desert. Howling winds uncovered a human tooth and a handful of burned bone fragments the size of quarters on a sand dune in the shadow of new solar power transmission towers. Indians say the discovery is evidence of a Native American cremation site not detected in Southern California Edison's archaeological survey before the towers were built. The Indians reburied the remains a few hundred feet away. But while digging the grave April 3, they hit more ancestral bones. It was the last straw, the third discovery of artifacts at or in the vicinity of the $1-billion Genesis solar project 200 miles east of Los Angeles. All had been missed by archaeological surveys conducted in a rush to build. Now the tribes, joined by others in the desert, are not merely asking the Obama administration to go slow because of potential harm. They are demanding it. Backed by the legally powerful Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Indians say Genesis and the transmission line corridor are proof of damage to sacred lands. They are readying court challenges that could alter solar and wind energy projects across the desert...more