Monday, September 30, 2013

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1115

Rex Allen - Yodelin' Crazy.  Looks like we'll have a yodelin' week.

Madison Rising - The Star Spangled Banner

Not a fan of most modern rock music, but this is quite a video.

Horse Bones that Date 50 Years Prior to the Spanish

Archaeologists working against the clock in Carlsbad have unearthed another nearly intact skeleton of a horse that may have lived and died 50 years before the Spanish began their conquest of California. Last week's discovery, high on a hill overlooking the Agua Hedionda lagoon, follows the discovery in June of the skeletal remains of another horse and a small burro, said project manager Dennis Gallegos of Gallegos and Associates, the contractor hired to explore the site. The finds are significant because native North American horses were thought to have been extinct more than 10,000 years ago, and the remains are older than the recorded conquests by the Spanish, who reintroduced horses to the New World. "This is a story untold," said Mark Mojado, the cultural representative for the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians. Why the animals were buried at all, why they were buried together, and why they appear to have been buried in a ritualistic way is a matter of academic conjecture, according to archaeologists, paleontologists and others who have seen the site. Radiocarbon dating of 340 years, plus or minus 40 years, puts the death of the horse sometime between 1625 and 1705, Mojado said. Therefore, the horses died at least 50 years before San Diego Mission de Alcala, the first of the California missions, was founded in 1769. The other horse and the burro were buried at the same level, suggesting that they were buried about the same time. The bones of the horses and the donkey showed no signs of having been shod, an indicator that the horses were not brought by the Spanish, who fitted their horses with iron shoes, said Larry Tift, a researcher with Gallegos.  The radiocarbon date, if corroborated by more elaborate tests, may be remarkable since North American horses were thought to have been extinct by the late Pleistocene era more than 10,000 years ago, said Bradford Riney, a paleontology specialist with the San Diego Natural History Museum. "That would make (the site) extremely important," he said Thursday. "It would be an early example of domestication." Alternately, Mojado postulated that the horses may have been Spanish in origin, perhaps from an ill-fated exploration  that never returned and so was lost to history. Perhaps the lost Spanish explorers offered the horses and donkey to the American Indians as a gift, Mojado said.  As a gift, and an unusual gift at that, the animals most certainly would have been revered, which could explain why they were buried high on a hill in the same way some Indians buried their own, Mojado said. One horse and the donkey appear to have been buried ritualistically with their heads to the north, faces to the left, and their bodies "flexed" in the fetal position, an American Indian method of burial. The newly discovered horse, its ocher-colored bones already fading to yellow from exposure to sun and air, was not similarly posed.  Researchers said they know horses were deliberately buried because they can see definite lines where someone cut into the shell layers to dig a burial pit...more

NM Rep. Attempts Power Grab That Could Kill Keystone Pipeline

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

by Mike Flynn

With all eyes trained on the fight over government spending and Obamacare, the House is scheduled to take up a non-controversial land-swap bill that would trade 2000 acres of  federal land in Arizona for 5000 acres of pristine land owned by Resolution Copper mine.  The bill has bipartisan support and should it be enacted, it is estimated that nearly 4,000 jobs will be created in the area.  Radical environmentalists of course oppose this swap and have joined with local tribes to offer an amendment to the swap bill that, if adopted, would become the environmentalists' most powerful tool to kill economic development throughout the nation.

Rep. Ben Lujan (D-NM) has promised to offer an amendment to the legislation that would empower the Secretary of Interior to override existing laws that protect tribal sacred sites and designate land as an Indian “cultural site.”  Such a designation would kill the mine project, its 4,000 jobs and serve as a model to kill other projects.  Federal law already protects Native America “sacred” land. 

So, what is  a “cultural” site?  No one knows for sure.  Proponents of the Lujan Amendment argue that any land where Native Americans have prayed and gathered is enough to trigger the designation.  Is there any land in the United States that does not meet that threshold?

The impact of the Lujan amendment cannot be measured.  The copper mine in Arizona, for instance, is 20 miles form the nearest reservation.  The Forest Service did an impact study and found there were no sacred sites to be found on the land.  That’s why Mr. Lujan and his supporters are trying to lower the threshold.  The lower threshold kills the project and its 4,000 jobs.  But more critically, the amendment sets the precedent that has environmentalists’ mouths watering.

Many observers believe that this precedent-setting amendment is a dry run to kill the Keystone Pipeline project specifically and set up a new paradigm for development in America.  Can anyone say with a straight face that somewhere along the thousands of miles of pipes, there will not be a parcel of land where Native Americans once slept, gathered or ate?

Wolves, not hunters

At first glance, you may think these were hunter harvested moose racks. The fact is, these are biologist's and undergraduates on Isle Royale, showing off wolf killed moose. Hunters have financed this failed experiment through Pittman/Robertson excise tax funds, a self imposed tax to help fund habitat improvement and perpetual populations of wildlife. These corrupt biologists squandered our money to invent wolf science, and advance the myth, balance of nature. This picture should anger every person, not just hunters who financed it.  Save Western Wildlife

More Bad News for Rural America

 by Jim Beers

With all of the winds currently buffeting rural America from government wolves and state governments becoming federal contractors for federal intrusions to federal land and water controls; a new wrinkle has been added.  When federal politicians talk about “redistributing wealth”, who knew one of the “redistribution” vehicles for rural wealth would be federal health legislation?  Not me.

Minnesota is a state that apparently seldom questions government growth of any sort, so it is not surprising that we formed one of the first state health care exchanges called MNsure as the federal Obamacare legislation rolls forward.  A recent newspaper article explains the expected differences in cost for Minnesotans divided into 9 “regions”.

Under the MNsure rules and charges, the Twin Cities to St. Cloud corridor (our most urban and most populous region) will be charged a monthly premium of $634 for a family of four. All other (rural Minnesota) regions will be charged $668, $704, $742, $816, $854, and $1,200 respectively.  These very significant differences are mysteriously credited to nonsense like “people might be sicker in some regions”, “doctors in some regions might opt for treatments that are more or less expensive” and “differences in the prices that different health care providers get paid for performing the same service”.

Dismissing all the associated smoke and mirrors; rural Minnesotans, and most likely all rural Americans as Obamacare becomes the only game in town, are embarking on a massive transfer of wealth to urban precincts in their state.  This is yet another result of this Red/Blue – Rural/Urban voting shift in our country.  Federal schemes from wolves to healthcare are at base thinly veiled political pandering for votes in concentrated urban precincts.  Giving them more and more government services and the granting of their imaginary environmental dreams in rural precincts (despite the harms to farmers, ranchers, hunters, dog owners, parents, and rural economies) are what keep federal politicians and their parties in power.

Recognizing what is happening and why it is happening is the first step.  The second step is seeing what must be done.  The third step is doing it despite the names they call you and the accusations they hurl at you.  Freedom is never cheap and rights must always be protected.  Rural Americans have been in the crosshairs long enough.  Transferring wealth for health is right up there with destroying a village to save it. 

 Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, and Refuge Manager and is available to speak or for consulting

The Unintended – But Expected – Consequences of Obamacare

by Edmond S. Bradley  

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – aka Obamacare – was expected by economists to cause economic changes.  (Here is the act in a handy 906-page .pdf file.)  Some predicted lower employment, either from employers’ reducing employees’ hours to keep them from being deemed full-time, or simply by firing employees whose marginal productivity isn’t more than the $300+ additional cost, per month, of complying with some of the employer mandates.
    Put simply, mandating increased per-employee costs will cause employers to react, and the employees most at risk of losing hours or jobs will be the ones with the lowest productivity:  the minimum-wagers the government says it’s trying to protect.  Any time the government takes control of (more of) an industry, the result inevitably will be unintended consequences. People seek to do what produces the best outcomes for themselves; we are not the static, obedient walking statistics government pretends we are.  We actively seek ways to avoid burdens, because we need to feed our families...
    Those of you who told Trader Joe’s you won’t shop there any longer because they’re not covering health care for their part-timers should first read Trader Joe’s explanation (Trader Joe’s will give the employees cash and let them shop for themselves; that way, the employees get a tax break, and at any rate Trader Joe’s can’t offer the giveaway deal the government is forcing on everyone); and second, should be prepared not to shop in very many places any more:  Forbes writes of Walgreen and 17 other large retailers doing the same thing. Worse, 301 employers (that we know of so far) are cutting employee hours and firing people.  The most perverse part of that:  62 of the employers are private-sector, and 239 are government employers, including school districts.  In one survey of small businesses, 41% have delayed hiring, 20% have reduced hours, and 20% have reduced payroll, all because Obamacare would be too burdensome otherwise.
    Another unintended consequence of creating government tax-and-spend “giveaways” that (as we saw above) threaten to harm the poor more than the rich:  Fraud.  Obamacare-related scams were and are being predicted—by federal officials, no less.  Thieves are expected to prey on the poor, the old, and the ignorant.  The fear is strong enough that the White House and the Justice Department have felt the need to reassure the public, with DOJ having to build a special initiative around the issue.  Here’s a list of the scams that have already been reported to law enforcement.
    Some unintended consequences were not predicted by many, if at all.  Labor unions, the darling of the political left, are stung because they somehow could not foresee that employers would cut hours; and the Obama administration remarkably has refused to add special subsidies for them...
Obamacare subsidizes the health care of people who stay below certain income maxima.  The obvious and foreseeable unintended consequence of that, of course, is that some people at the margins will face incentives to earn less.  A dollar of additional income, for some, will mean losing a $5,000 subsidy.  It would be foolish for anyone facing that choice to work an additional hour and lose almost $5,000.

Mort Zuckerman: Because of ObamaCare '88% of Jobs Created This Year Are Part-Time'

Media mogul Mort Zuckerman had some harsh words for the President's signature piece of legislation Friday. Appearing on PBS's McLaughlin Group, Zuckerman said, "88 percent of the jobs that have been created this year are part-time jobs. A large part of the reason for that number of part-time jobs which is unprecedented in American history is because people are apprehensive about the impact of ObamaCare on and the costs of ObamaCare on full-time jobs."...more

Here's the video of Zuckerman's comments:

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1114

It's Swingin' Monday so here's the Pickin' On Band with a tribute to the Byrd's Time Between.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cowgirl Sass and Savvy

The season for hot lips

 by Julie Carter

I could smell the sharp, toasted aroma as it wafted through my window. Much like the smell of cedar smoke in the air on a cold winter morning, this scent quickly brought feelings of comfort and home.

Not the cooler weather, not the turning leaves, not the pumpkin patch promotions, not the Christmas decorations already in the garden center, not the election junk mail – none of those things catch my attention as a marker for the coming of fall like the smell of roasting chiles.

Icon of the Southwest, the chile is meeting its maker as tons of them roll through drums with a high flame roasting them with every round.

I love small towns and their traditions and I love that many of them still have old neighborhoods that haven’t lost track of what is important – chile roasting and porch  sitting.

This time of year offers up both in a New Mexican Currier and Ives, or perhaps Currier and Chile, sort of way. Even the tiniest, oldest home on the street has a few chairs or an old couch in place out front for some serious, dedicated porch sitting.

These people still have a hold on the enjoyment of a simple life without high tech, high speed and high noise. But you won’t notice them from the highway as you pass through at the speed of sound. However, they are there --tucked along the side streets, back streets and shaded neighborhoods.

They just sit. Sometimes they sit alone and watch a little traffic, or sometimes they gather with family and friends. Kids are playing ball and frequently chase it into the street, unaffected by the fact it is a street, albeit a quiet one.

They always offer a friendly wave when you drive by, but without missing a beat of their conversation or interruption to their quiet gaze off into the summer evening.

It’s my belief the world needs to do a little more porch sittin’. Not the fancy patio kind with a feng shui design, but the kind where nobody on the porch knows what feng shui is.

When the guy next door is roasting chiles and the smell entices you to saunter by, you don’t mind pulling up a remnant1950s kitchen chair and keeping him company. While you visit, he turns the handle on the drum -- toasting, roasting and cooking a bushel of fresh-picked chile.

If the splendiferous aroma doesn’t send your taste buds into overdrive, the fresh flour tortillas that inevitably arrive soon after, will.

Peeling a hot, freshly roasted chile and laying it on a homemade tortilla, sprinkling it with a little salt before rolling it up and biting into it, rates right up there with the ultimate utopian moment.

Just one piece of advice to the gringo set. Always ask first if the chile is a batch of hot or mild. Once the acute burn begins and the capsaicin from the chile begins to numb, it’s a little hard to carry on an intelligent conversation except to gasp and run for something to drink.

Moreover, when the chile guy is ever so amused, he will take advantage of your weakened state to make some sarcastic quip about a new name for you.

This moment truly gives new dimension to the moniker “Hot Lips.”

Julie can be reached for comment at 

Remember the Border War?

Remember the Border War?
Blood in the Sand
Numbers … just numbers
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

             The argument for term limits has become personal.
            My words spread over time have been idealistic. The sentences are grandiose. ‘Sovereign Americans will ultimately make good decisions;’ ‘The moral authority will eventually be assumed by the voters;’ and, ‘Our Constitution will prevail’ were all crafted.
            Those words ring hollow. Too many things have happened.
            I don’t like this latest Arab oil sand intrigue. I am struck with the notion if you run for president and lose … or, if you have lived in the Whitehouse for eight years … or, if your trips home concern campaign fundraising … or, if your attention is unevenly divided on somebody else’s border rather than our own, your assistance in matters of state are no longer needed. In fact, they are no longer wanted.
            Go home and raise money for a self defined shrine. Extract it from friends and neighbors if you can, but just go home … your turn is over.
            Numbers … just numbers
            The number for cartel-related murders being bandied around is 80,000.
            Actually, that number is surprising. Too many of us remember when it lingered around 30,000. The press was reluctant to give it credibility. It was a resisted milestone.
            It was always surrounded with qualification. That became vivid when Mexican research revealed that Mexicans, when faced with threat of repercussion, will consistently report less than one in three incidents of cartel violence.
            To be specific, only 27% of the cartel related murders ever surface. Reporting will result in retaliation. Nothing has changed. That is why the number of deaths from the cartel war can be calculated to be 296,000.
"Rest assured the same shock factor could be generated in the border war. Scenes displaying farm workers lined up alongside trenches and shot would get some attention. Likewise, holding a writhing, nameless man down while somebody cut his head off would elevate instant horror. So would stuffing the body of a comatose woman into a drum of acid to be obliterated."
            No loss of life is condoned, but face reality. The folks who have reported the 100,000 gas exterminated victims in Syria have reason to seek a maximum shock response. The more outrage the more justification for the Washington leadership to crank up the smart bombs and squeeze electronic triggers.
            Before Mr. Putin stepped in, the debacle had reached the point of deferring to the American people to figure out why a single dime could be spent supporting Hezbollah on one side or al-Qaida on the other.
            The justification expanded into mob mongering when the Whitehouse released videos of dying victims. Shame on them! If they had to resort to color coordinated gang rallies rather than leadership integrity, they are what we have long determined … bush league politicos in a tender box world.
            Rest assured the same shock factor could be generated in the border war. Scenes displaying farm workers lined up alongside trenches and shot would get some attention. Likewise, holding a writhing, nameless man down while somebody cut his head off would elevate instant horror. So would stuffing the body of a comatose woman into a drum of acid to be obliterated.
The difference is the Syrian debacle is being framed for exposure on the basis of saving the reputation of a leader who does not have our interests at heart. On the other hand, the Mexican debacle is being diminished for the purposes shielding the reputation of a leader who does not have our interests at heart. In both cases, collateral dying is relegated to a menu selection process. It will be elevated or dismissed on the basis of political gain.
            The big number
            The war in Mexico has become a forgotten news event, but numbers from it impact us immensely.
The statistic of high concern is the number of illegals immigration reform will ultimately yield. The political gain crew is using 11 million, the estimated number of illegals living in the United States without legitimate status.
            That is not the actual number. The real number is at least 29.7 million. That basis was demonstrated after the 1986 Amnesty when the crew told us there were a million illegals within our borders. When the processing concluded, there were 2.7 million. More stood in the shadows.
            The pending coronation of 30 million new Democrats probably won’t change the pace of our wealth erosion. Torrents of money are already funneled to those people.  What does impact us are the conditions at the border that have allowed those folks to invade us. The same politicos contemplating defending Hezbollah or al-Qaida largely dismiss the implications of non-defense of our border.
The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers has again challenged Congress to acknowledge the truth of the 29.7 million illegal aliens. They have done that in an open letter. They have also ramped up their campaign across the country to draw attention to it and the collateral border threat from al-Qaida and Hezbollah.
"The difference is the Syrian debacle is being framed for exposure on the basis of saving the reputation of a leader who does not have our interests at heart. On the other hand, the Mexican debacle is being diminished for the purposes shielding the reputation of a leader who does not have our interests at heart. In both cases, collateral dying is relegated to a menu selection process. It will be elevated or dismissed on the basis of political gain."
Since 2008, Iran has openly recruited volunteers for Jihad in the Western Hemisphere. Their recruitment website, “”, has sought Spanish speaking recruits for missions into the ‘soft underbelly’ of America. Even the State Department finally acknowledged in August the pressing need for expanded investigation.
Why are we engaged in debate over a Middle Eastern regime revolution whose combatants are committed to our annihilation?
 Color me red, white and blue, but I believe there is an incredible tactical opportunity at hand. The border rancher in me screams for the consideration of arming both sides in Syria to the teeth, contracting with Israel to seal the combat zone borders, and track this thing by satellite imagery for the next several years.
Let those fellows who detest us debate and work their anger out.
By that time, our government would be able to observe and measure real border protection designed and enforced by the Israelis for comprehensive national defense. We could then adopt those techniques and committed practices as ours, or … bypass Washington politics completely and hire the Israelis to defend our border!
Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “With 93 years of combined entitlement tenure, the three senior ‘gang of eight’ politicos (McCain, Schumer, and Durbin) promised you, in 1986, there would never be the need for another amnesty bill … Hmmm.”

Baxter Black - It's best to avoid skunks if you can

by Baxter Black

J.B. and Deb are among those couples who form the backbone of agriculture. Their diversified operation includes livestock, loans, machinery and kids. There are times when it seems they can read each other’s minds.

They were coming back across the pasture, bumping along a two-track dirt trail on a Polaris Ranger, when a skunk wobbled out of the grass and onto the trail.

Deb felt, rather than saw, J.B. smile. “Don’t you be thinkin’ what I think yer thinkin’,” she said flatly.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“You know what I mean ... runnin’ over him. Don’t you even be thinkin’ that.”

“Aw,” he said, “How can you think I’d do something as dumb or insane or stupid as runnin’ over a skunk!”
“Ya know,” she said, “That’s what I told my mother when she asked if I was gonna marry you.”

J.B. sped up just enough to catch the skunk. He jumped off, grabbed a shovel from the back of the Ranger and took out after the skunk. He was stumbling in his rubber boots over the rough ground but was athletic enough to wield the shovel. It clunked the ground, bounced back and thumped the skunk.

In the “Compendium of Skunk Thumping” one would learn that skunks are of the Order Carnivora (which includes mongooses and hyenas) and I quote “If you encounter a skunk, back away slowly and quietly ... be careful not to frighten them ... an extremely fetid liquid ...”

If a person is close enough to thump a skunk, (an arm’s length plus 4-foot shovel handle), it is reasonable to assume this person would be within the skunk’s range. It has been shown that skunks can spray 20 feet, weather permitting, and be accurate at 10 feet.

J.B. took a full load, which according to “The Skunk Authority” would be approximately a tablespoon of musk. Now, a tablespoon doesn’t sound like much. But the skunk’s extremely fetid liquid reacts slowly with water to activate. Thus, the more you try to wash it off, the more you activate the smell!

New Mexico’s limited water sparked ‘Tularosa Ditch War’

by Marc Simmons

Water has always been New Mexico’s most precious commodity. Through history, Indians, Spaniards and Anglos have struggled for possession of the land’s limited water resources. Some were even willing to kill for it.

That was the case in the 1870s and ’80s at the town of Tularosa, situated on the eastern edge of White Sands. The site took its name from the tules (reeds or cattails) growing in marshes about a mile from where the little Tularosa River left its canyon and disappeared in the sands.

As early as 1858, some New Mexicans from the Rio Grande settled here and put in their crops. But before harvest, they were chased out by Mescalero Apaches.

Then, in the early 1860s, a new band of Hispanic pioneers arrived. They were from the Mesilla Valley and El Paso, where a Rio Grande flood had washed away their homes and fields. Wanting a new start and willing to work for it, they founded the community of Tularosa. Other settlers from Socorro soon established the neighboring village of La Luz.

The people built adobe homes, dug irrigation ditches to tap the river and organized a municipal government with an alcalde, or mayor. They also had occasional run-ins with the Mescaleros.

But life was generally serene, and the desert blossomed with orchards and a huge vineyard. Travelers considered Tularosa an oasis.

Trouble loomed on the horizon, however. Anglos began moving into the area, and with them was born competition for scarce water.

Among the first to enter was Joseph Blazer, who had started life as an Iowa dentist and went on to service in the Union Army. In 1866, he acquired an old sawmill up Tularosa Canyon and diverted some of the river water to power the wheel. He was careful, though, to turn it back into the main channel after use so that people below would not be shorted.

Other newcomers were not so charitable. Several farmers occupied lands above Tularosa and placed small irrigation dams across the river, in total disregard of the rights of downstream users.

The leader of the interlopers was Andrew J. Wilson. When Tularosa citizens came up one night and destroyed the offending dams, Wilson assembled work parties and put them right back.

That was too much for the plucky Tularosans, and they launched an attack upon the farmers. Wilson sent an urgent plea for help to nearby Fort Stanton. Lt. John Wilkinson and five men of the 8th Cavalry responded.

Heartland Institute climate change panel reveals science the UN suppresses

by Ron Arnold

With headlines feeding public suspicion that a new U.N. climate report ignores evidence that global warming stopped (“paused” to the pious) nearly two decades ago, many readers likely already know that “IPCC” means the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Earlier this week in Washington, however, the "NIPCC" -- the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change -- made news with release of the second in a series of its own 1,000-plus-pages counter-report, “Climate Change Reconsidered II.”

Bearing the challenging tagline of “science the U.N. will exclude from its next climate report,” the NIPCC is meant as a counter-weight and a corrective to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, which is being released today.

The NIPCC report “documents the evidence that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are not causing a global warming crisis. The report contains thousands of citations to the peer-reviewed literature,” according to a news release.

Those citations should be welcomed by all scientists, regardless of their position on climate change, because the NIPCC authors paid special attention to “contributions that were overlooked by the IPCC or that presented data, discussion, or implications, arguing against the IPCC’s claim that dangerous global warming is occurring, or will occur, from human-related greenhouse gas emissions.”

It’s about time we had opposing scientists’ names and article titles instead of all that worshipful, non-scientific, politically correct consensus nonsense, the pressure-cooked manipulation used to force agreement from colleagues. There may be a smile on their face, but that's because of the dagger at their backs.

Why does the U.N. love consensus anyway? Because it sounds authoritative against critics who remember to follow the money: The 130 developing countries are a solid majority of the 195 governments that fund the IPCC.

They want a big payday funded by wealthier developed nations via climate treaties with hefty wealth transfer clauses to support “sustainable development” — that is, a solar panel on a hut for 40 watts of light...

N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens

Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials. The spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans’ networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after N.S.A. officials lifted restrictions on the practice, according to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. The policy shift was intended to help the agency “discover and track” connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States, according to an N.S.A. memorandum from January 2011. The agency was authorized to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness” of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners. The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners...more

Microsoft Fielded 37,000 Law Enforcement Requests

Microsoft said Friday that it fielded more than 37,000 requests for information about its customers from law-enforcement agencies in the first half of this year – roughly consistent with the pace of such data demands in 2012. Every six months, Microsoft, Twitter and some other tech companies disclose how often police departments, U.S. agencies and foreign governments demand customer information, such as the content of emails that could reveal evidence of a crime. The requests Microsoft disclosed include information about users of Hotmail email, the Skype video-calling service and Web-based version of the Office bundle of workplace software. Like other tech companies, Microsoft has said it would like to be able to disclose information about secret U.S. government requests for user data, including requests related to National Security Agency surveillance programs. Microsoft is among the companies that are pushing the U.S. government to reveal more about such data requests, which burst into public attention after leaks from Edward Snowden. Read Microsoft’s full report here.


When football was a different game - Art Donovan on Johnny Carson

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1113

The Isaacs - I Brought You To Jesus.  From their 2000 CD Stand Still.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chairman Hastings Statement on Obama Administration's Proposed Habitat Designation of the Canada Lynx

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 26, 2013 - House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) released the following statement regarding U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s proposal to designate over 26 million acres of habitat in six states for the Canada Lynx, which has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA):

The Obama Administration’s proposed designation of more than 26 million acres of habitat in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Maine for the Canada Lynx could have huge economic impacts on public recreation, forest management, mining, snowmobiling, energy development, and other economic activities. While the Administration cannot even define how many lynx there are or what the number of decline has been, they are pressing ahead to re-issue a habitat designation that will significantly affect portions of six states, and reduce access for a host of activities.  It’s concerning that the massive proposal does not include an accurate or updated economic impact analyses, and will create potential regulatory uncertainty for those areas affected.

“This proposed designation is another example of how the ESA is being driven by settlements and litigation over science and actual data. The Canada Lynx was one of hundreds of species included in a settlement agreement between the Department of the Interior and litigious environmental organizations. Closed-door negotiations with special interest lawyers whose fees are being subsidized by American taxpayers are not how these decisions should be made, and set a dangerous precedent that will have 
widespread impacts on job creation, access to public lands, and use of private property.”

Friday, September 27, 2013

Big Bird Loses Healthcare Under Obamacare Rules

Millions of Americans are losing their work-provided healthcare insurance plans all across the country as the costs, fees, and fines of Obamacare become clear. Now, even Big Bird of Sesame Street fame has lost his healthcare insurance thanks to the President's take over of the healthcare system. Some may recall that during the 2012 presidential election, the progressive media accused GOP nominee Mitt Romney of wanting to "kill Big Bird" when he came out in opposition to funding public broadcasting services like PBS and NPR. Now, only months after the election, Obamacare is about to "kill Big Bird" in Pennsylvania. One of The Keystone State's biggest tourist attractions is Sesame Place, a Sesame Street-themed amusement park just northeast of Philadelphia. First opened in 1980, Sesame Place employs about 1,650 people both full and part-time and brings in upwards to $75 million in economic activity to Pennsylvania's Bucks County. However, Sesame Place parent company SeaWorld has announced that it will cut hours for part-time employees, likely to keep them under the 30-hour threshold set down in Obama’s healthcare law. SeaWorld will also cease offering company-based healthcare plans for part-time workers. "This law is hurting real people in my district and around the country," Representative Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) wrote in a letter to the Obama administration. Philly Inquirer writer Julie Zauzmer reports that SeaWorld has confirmed that it has cut part-time worker's hours from 32 hours a week to 28. This will keep employees under the new Obamacare limit of what makes a "full-time worker."...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1112

I dedicate this song to all the DC Deep Thinkers: Roy Acuff - Stuckup Blues.  The number was recorded in Chicago on April 29, 1941 and released as Okeh 6300.

Editorial: Agency should revisit arbitrary grazing ban

The U.S. Forest Service’s decision to run 21 ranchers off their federal grazing allotments in the Mountainair Ranger District is arbitrary and needless flexing of regulatory muscle.

Many of the ranchers’ families have held the grazing leases for generations. The Forest Service, too, has a long history. It was established in 1905 and its mission is to manage and preserve public lands in national forests and grasslands for the greater good of the citizenry. And that is as it should be. The Forest Service over the years has worked with ranchers, universities and other land managers to monitor rangeland health and sustainability. 

However, the abrupt – and unappealable – decision three months ago appears to be one-sided and poorly thought out. 

The Forest Service excuse is drought, a condition in which 75 percent of New Mexico remains. But to hear ranchers like Richard Spencer tell it, there is grass. Others say they have been practicing good management, such as leaving parts of their allotments ungrazed so the range can restore itself. Plus, they point out, recent rains are revitalizing the forage, and other users of public lands have been allowed back into the forests.

The order, issued in June, suspended all grazing in the ranger district after July 30 for at least a year after the range returns to average or above annual precipitation that produces “adequate seed in key grasses and forbs.” Only then would grazing be allowed to return gradually on a case-by-case basis. The order notes it could take a few years for ranchers to get back to their maximum permitted number of livestock. Meanwhile, the Forest Service says ranchers are required to maintain water systems and improvements on the allotments for the benefit of wildlife. 

And continue their monthly lease payments. 

If you ever needed an example of a federal bureaucracy completely unplugged from the reality of being able to run a ranch or business, this would be it. It essentially says, “we are kicking you out of the house indefinitely, but you still need to pay rent and upkeep. How you do that is your problem.” 

Ranchers say the loss of use of their grazing allotments will create financial hardships, but it will also impact commerce in rural towns and revenues for school districts and local governments. They want the order withdrawn and an advisory panel created so they can have some say in future grazing lease decisions. 

The Forest Service is right to try to protect the public’s resources. But its decisions not only should be based on good science and applicable government regulations, but should include the input of those who will be directly affected, including allotment holders and local governments. 

Like it or not, the U.S. government permits grazing on some of its lands. That’s the law. The Forest Service should reconsider the blanket ban and work with ranchers and rangeland experts to come up with an acceptable plan. 

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

For the background on this, see my post here


Congressman Pearce working on grazing dispute agreement

Recent actions and a flurry of communications among those involved in the dispute over grazing leases in the Cibola National Forest could be a signal that some kind of agreement or compromise is in the works.

Eric Layer, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., said this week the congressman is working closely with ranchers in New Mexico and the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C., and expects to make an important announcement in the near future, perhaps a week or two. 

“We’re working on it from every possible angle,” Layer said. 

Also this week, a rancher whose cattle were ordered removed from their Manzano Mountains grazing land by the Forest Service this past summer, met with the federal agency’s range management specialist who reinspected the grazing site. 

The dispute can be attributed to a single source: the drought. However, a more nuanced consideration would include how its impact on federal grazing land is interpreted. 

In June, Mountainair District Ranger Karen Lessard ordered 21 ranches to remove livestock from grazing land allotments in the Manzano Mountains, because of “severe drought conditions that for a third straight year continue to limit livestock forage and plant recovery.” The eviction notice took effect on July 30 and was to last at least a year “following the return of average or above average annual precipitation that produces seed in grasses and (other plants).” 

The New Mexico Cattle Growers and individual ranchers called the action arbitrary, unnecessary and economically punitive. Last month, they began circulating a resolution objecting to the “arbitrary non-scientific blanket removal order” to various governmental agencies, including the Torrance County Commission, which adopted it unanimously. The Lincoln County Commission has also approved the resolution, as has the East Torrance, Edgewood and Upper Hondo soil and water conservation districts. It is now under consideration by the board of the Claunch-Pinto Soil and Water Conservation District in Mountainair. 

Lincoln County Commissioner Mark Doth agreed that the Forest Service’s “arbitrary and capricious action should be reviewed, using science and fact.” The blanket removal of all cattle from the grazing land significantly escalates the threat of a grass fire, he said.