Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Santa Claus banned from Oregon classrooms

Bears Ears: Correcting an off-base argument

by Charles Wilkinson

 Nathan Nielson’s opinion piece, “A National Monument is a Heavy-handed Solution for Bears Ears” (HCN 10/31/16) is made from whole cloth. The yarns Neilson spins are of “federal absorption,” of vandalism run amok; of neglect and economic crisis; of future limitations placed on the gathering of wood, herbs and piñon nuts; of a lack of support for a Bears Ears National Monument; and of a coming massive restriction of livestock grazing as at the nearby Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument...The author laments a 31 percent reduction in grazing at Grand Staircase – a non-existent “fact.” The Bureau of Land Management says that permitted Animal Unit Months (AUMs – a cow and a calf pair) were 77,200 when the Staircase was designated. Today, 76,900 are available, even after thousands of AUMs were willingly sold by ranchers. This means livestock grazing has actually increased in other parts of the monument, despite a decade of crippling drought...more

The truth is neither Nielson or Wilkinson know what will happen to livestock grazing if a Bears Ears National Monument is created. Why? Because it all depends on what language Obama puts in the proclamation. Livestock grazing language has run the gamut in Presidential proclamations, from livestock grazing being totally banned, to banned in certain areas, to being allowed but subservient to the objects in the monument, to language saying the monument would have no affect on livestock grazing. That is what is so scary about the Presidential power granted in the Antiquities Act. Nobody knows until the proclamation is issued.

Grassroots efforts may have delayed monument

With an historic election in the rear view mirror and the arrival of winter weather, time is ticking on the presidency of Barack Obama. In less than two months, Obama will be replaced in Washington, DC by Donald Trump. What he does between now and January 21, 2017 could have a significant impact on San Juan County. It has been four months since Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell led a delegation of federal officials to the area to investigate the proposed Bears Ears National Monument. A coalition of environmental groups and Native American tribes joined together to seek the designation of a 1.9 million acre national monument. The massive monument proposal includes approximately 38 percent of the total landmass of San Juan County, with large sections of private, state, BLM and Forest Service land included. The proposal was met with a mixed response at a public meeting hosted by Jewell in Bluff. Large groups of environmental and tribal supporters attended the meeting, including a large number of people from outside of San Juan County. Local residents spoke in favor of and opposed to the designation, leaving the impression to many observers that local residents were split on the proposal. In response, a group of local residents banded together in a grassroots effort to fight the proposal. Efforts in the community, in the media, with elected officials and on the bumpers of local cars have combined to build awareness of the significant local opposition to the monument. While there are still voices in favor of the proposal, including local residents who serve on the Navajo Nation Tribal Council, the voices opposed to the monument seem to have drowned out the voices of supporters in local circles...more

I'll believe it when I see it. For the two NM monuments there was a period of four months between Jewell's "listening sessions" and Obama bringing the hammer down. The folks at Owyhee and Bears Ears can't breathe easily until Obama walks out the door.

Forest Service trying to seize private land from Montana ranchers

by Charles Sauer

Chris Hunter and his co-owners of Wonder Ranch in southwestern Montana have decided it’s their time to be brave. They’re taking on the government and fighting for land that is rightfully theirs. “It is daunting and depressing, we felt afraid and cornered,” Hunter told me about the government’s actions. “You feel double crossed by your own government. You either have to sue them or it’s a done deal. It doesn’t feel like America, it feels like we are living in one of the horrible dictatorships that we read about in history books.” The issue is that the U.S. Forest Service likes a quarter-mile-long trail that happens to cut across Wonder Ranch’s private land. For decades, the ranch’s owners have happily granted access to both the public and government employees anytime they’ve wanted to use the trail, which happens to cross through their front yard. It’s been an amicable relationship, but an uncertain one. “[You] have been very cooperative in allowing us to cross your land to get to the National Forest,” Madison District Ranger Blaine Tennis wrote in a letter to Wonder Ranch, all the way back in 1960. “However, a new owner may not be so inclined and the federal government would possibly have to resort to condemnation proceedings [sic] which are lengthy and costly to both parties involved.” Mere access wasn’t enough – a bully always wants more, you see. At Wonder Ranch, access alone wasn’t enough for the Forest Service: It wants to steal the land now. There was an alternate proposed route that didn’t cut through the ranch’s front yard. The Forest Service could have reached an amicable conclusion with the landowners. But that wasn’t enough for the Forest Service. Nope, the bully never stops. The Forest Service, by fiat, claimed an easement through the ranch. The owners of the ranch shouldn’t have to wage this war, but they are, and we should all get behind them. Fortunately, their supporters are starting to line up. House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Tex., is behind them and their right to their property. “The government shouldn’t bully anyone,” Sessions told me. “The government’s job is to defend our rights, our freedom, and our property. What the Forest Service is doing in Montana is a gross abuse of power.”...more

I decided to take a look at this. There is more to this case than columnist Sauer shares. It turns out an easement was granted under Montana law. Here is more from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon ruled that there was a public prescriptive easement — meaning an easement that isn’t in writing — on a trail that crosses the Wonder Ranch, a property south of Cameron near the Indian Creek Canyon. The decision upholds the U.S. Forest Service’s claim that the trail is entirely public and rejects the landowners’ claim that access — however ample — was granted by their permission. John Bloomquist, an attorney for the plaintiff Wonder Ranch LLC, said they are reviewing the decision and will decide whether to appeal, but that their position remains that public and administrative use of the trail “has been a product of the landowner’s cooperation and permission.” Court documents say the landowners’ spat with the Forest Service began when the owners of the Wonder Ranch put up gates and signs that asked people to dismount horses and leash their dogs while passing through the property. Court documents say they put up another sign sometime between 2007 and 2009, saying access was given “by gratuitous permission of the landowner.” The Forest Service asked the owners to take down the signs and leave the gates open. The dismount and leash signs were removed, but not the one claiming access was given by permission of the landowner. Forest officials in 2011 filed a document with Madison County asserting that the trail was public. In response, the owners of the Wonder Ranch filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service in 2014. The suit argued that the agency’s claim of a public prescriptive easement had “no validity whatsoever,” citing a 2004 letter from the then district ranger saying that there wasn’t an easement on the property. But after two years of dueling motions, a trial and a judge’s tour of the property, the court sided with the Forest Service. Haddon’s opinion says records of the trail go as far back as 1888, and that it was included in a 1940 Forest Service map as trail No. 328. He went on to write about the cavalcade of users the trail has seen, from ranchers moving livestock along the trail as it crosses the property in the ’30s and ’40s to the hunters and hikers that have been using the trail in increasing number since the 1980s. Haddon wrote that during the warm seasons in the 1990s, the trail saw between 10 and 20 users a day. That established that the trail saw ample and varied use, but part of the case hinged on whether the trail users asked for permission. If trail users were consistently asking the landowner for permission, it would show that the landowner was actually granting access by “gratuitous permission,” as claimed by the sign they put up. But Haddon wrote that the majority of trail users didn’t ask for permission. Ranchers trailing livestock in the last century did so without asking permission and a number of outfitters, hunters and hikers using the public lands accessed by the trail did so without asking permission, supporting the argument that the trail was public.

There are some lessons to be learned here. For those interested the decision is embedded below.

Faith Groups Send Letter Praising BLM Methane Limits

Leaders from the faith community in Colorado and across the Southwest are sending a letter today to President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell thanking them for adopting new rules to limit methane waste on public and tribal lands. The letter said the policy is in sync with church efforts to counter wasteful attitudes and behaviors that Pope Francis has called a "throwaway culture." Adrian Miller is executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches, one of some 25 groups to sign the letter. "People of faith do care about God's creation and about being better stewards of the earth," he said. "But we also are mindful that this is an important industry, and we like this rule because we think it strikes a good balance." He said the oil and gas industry is critical for Colorado's economy, particularly in rural areas, and said limiting waste can increase production. President-elect Donald Trump hasn't taken a position on methane limits but has promised to roll back regulations on fossil-fuel development. Miller said he hopes the faith community's support for the Bureau of Land Management's rules will help convince the incoming administration to keep them in place...more

If you go to the Colorado Council of Churches website, you will find a link to their "partner" Eco-Justice Ministries, where you will find links to their "colleagues" such as the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Programs and Interfaith Power & Light (A religious response to global warming).

US officials will review status of lesser prairie chicken

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Federal wildlife officials on Tuesday agreed to reconsider the status of a grouse found in pockets across the Great Plains as environmentalists fight to return the bird to the list of protected species. The lesser prairie chicken was removed from the threatened and endangered species list earlier this year following court rulings in Texas and a decision by government lawyers not to pursue an appeal. Environmentalists responded by petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take another look at the bird. They argued that emergency protections are needed for isolated populations of the bird along the Texas-New Mexico border, in Colorado and western Kansas...more

Ranchers a big part of watershed management

Ranchers spoke candidly about their beliefs in land conservation in a venue they traditionally have avoided – one in which government officials and forestry people also were present. The All Hands, All Lands conference on Nov. 15 at Chapel Rock Conference Center in Prescott included state forestry officials, ranchers, hydrologists and five companies involved in the biomass industry. Sponsored by the Upper Verde River Watershed Protection Coalition (UVRWPC), Chino Winds Triangle Natural Resource Conservation Districts, and Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management (AAFFM), the conference centered around efforts to remove and utilize pinyon-juniper vegetation on nearly 1 million acres in Yavapai County. Five companies involved in the biomass industry also gave short presentations. Rancher Mark Goswick, 57, said his family has ranched in the area since the 1800s. Dawn Salcito is the fifth generation of ranchers in her family. Reuben Verner is fourth generation. Bas Aja’s family has ranched near Ash Fork since 1897. John Hunt ranches some 45 miles out of Prescott. They all took time out from their busy fall season to drive into town and speak to about 100 people involved in watershed management on public and private lands. Some of the ranchers pointed out historical changes caused by encroachment of junipers and pinyons on their ranches, and the resulting decline or absence of streams that used to run seasonally or year round. They also expressed frustration at federal rules and regulations that require environmental studies for almost any kind of land management proposals, such as putting in fence line or stock wells, that can take years to analyze before receiving permission or denial. “Like my father used to say, ‘You’re making a lot of dust, but you’re not getting anything done,’” Aja said, referring to the lengthy legal process involved with NEPA studies (National Environmental Policy Act)....more

In 1918, California Drafted Children Into a War On Squirrels

In April 1918, as American doughboys faced down the Germans in France, California’s schoolchildren were enlisted to open a new Western Front. “We have enemies here at home more destructive, perhaps, than some of the enemies our boys are fighting in the trenches,” state horticulture commissioner George H. Hecke warned in an impassioned call-up for “School Soldiers.” He exhorted children to do their part for Uncle Sam by organizing “a company of soldiers in your class or in your school” and marching out to destroy their foe: “the squirrel army.” This children’s crusade was part of Squirrel Week, a seven-day frenzy in which California tried to kill off its ground squirrels. The state’s farmers and ranchers had long struggled to decimate the critters (also known as Otospermophilus beecheyi), which were seen as pests and a source of pestilence, particularly the bubonic plague. The burrowing foragers—not to be confused with tree squirrels—devoured an estimated $30 million worth of crops annually, about $480 million in current dollars... By the time Squirrel Week ended on May 4, children across the state had turned in 104,509 tails, though this was thought to represent a fraction of the total casualties. Even after the contest ended, the Commission of Horticulture reported that kids’ enthusiasm for killing squirrels continued for “an indefinite period.” During an anti-squirrel campaign in Lassen County later in the year, one girl brought in 3,780 tails; a boy brought in 3,770...more 

Them was the good ol' days. Today, based on current events, some children  would need therapy dogs if they even heard about the killing of these critters.

How do you think a program like this would be received today?  Can you imagine the reaction?

Anyway, there are some great posters accompanying the article. Here are a few:

Ranch Radio Song of the Day #1741

Its time for some Country classics this week and we'll start with Ernest Tubb - Walking The Floor Over You. The tune was recorded in Dallas on April  26, 1941. The Westerner

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

No physical blockade of pipeline protest camp: North Dakota officials

North Dakota officials on Tuesday backed away from plans to physically block supplies from reaching oil pipeline protesters at a camp near the construction site, saying they will instead use financial deterrents to prevent food and building materials from coming in. Activists have spent months protesting plans to route the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, saying the project poses a threat to water resources and sacred Native American sites. Earlier on Tuesday, Maxine Herr, a spokeswoman for the Morton County Sheriff's Department, said food, building materials and other supplies would be blocked from entering the main camp following Governor Jack Dalrymple's "emergency evacuation" order on Monday. However, a spokesman for the governor told Reuters on Tuesday afternoon that no such action was planned. "There is not going to be any blockade of supplies," said the spokesman, Jeff Zent. State officials said fines will be their tool of choice rather than a physical blockade. Herr said following Zent's comments that law enforcement would take a more "passive role" than enforcing a blockade. Officers will stop vehicles they believe are headed to the camp and inform drivers they are committing an infraction and could be fined $1,000...more

Expanding Cascade-Siskiyou Monument a holy cause

by Revs. Staccato Powell and John Walter Boris

Right now, one part of God's creation is particularly in need of our attention and stewardship: The area surrounding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwest Oregon. This national monument is special to Oregon and to our nation. Established in 2000, the monument is one of the most biodiverse places in the country. Although it remains the only monument in the country designed specifically for the protection of biodiversity, its original boundaries were significantly constrained. Over the last several years, a growing number of scientists who study the diversity of God's creatures and plants in this special place are telling us we need to do more to protect it. God's creation in this area counts on a patchwork of vital habitats and watersheds that remain unprotected. God's creatures serve a purpose in the whole of creation, and each has intrinsic value. The Psalmist declares to God, "In your wisdom, you made them all. The earth is full of your creatures." Redirecting water resources away from habitats, water pollution, or habitat loss in certain places could mean loss of certain species forever. When we allow species extinction to happen, we do not know the full extent of harm that we have done. It is a transgression against our Creator. Furthermore, it is clear that the global community is feeling the impacts of climate change. Just as we humans are adjusting to increasingly changing seasons, extreme weather, droughts, and floods, so too are God's creatures and plants...more 

Rt. Rev. Staccatto Powell is Bishop of the Western Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Rev. Dr. Walter John Boris is Conference Minister for the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ.

Divide lease decision likely to land in court

A recent U.S. Bureau of Land Management decision regarding 65 previously issued oil and gas leases on the White River National Forest, including the cancellation of 25 leases in the Thompson Divide area, is almost certain to end up in federal court. What form that will take over what claims, and which entities decide to seek legal remedies, is a matter for lawyers working on both sides of the ongoing dispute to determine. The formal Record of Decision issued Nov. 17 in Denver and signed by state BLM Director Ruth Welch and Interior Department Deputy Secretary Michael Connor stipulates that any challenges must come in federal district court, rather than by administrative appeal. One of the energy companies whose 18 Divide-area leases southwest of Glenwood Springs were canceled vowed to take legal action based on evidence it says points to collusion between the Obama administration and environmental interests to reach a “predetermined political decision.” “We will seek lost profits in the courts,” Robbie Guinn, vice president for Houston-based SG Interests, reiterated last week. Guinn pointed to testimony he gave in July to the Subcommittee on Natural Resources in Washington referring to BLM communications obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request as the basis for that legal action. In that testimony, Guinn argued that what should have been a routine unitization, or grouping, of oil and gas leases in SG’s Lake Ridge Unit in advance of seeking drilling permits, ended up becoming politicized and resulted in the retroactive review of the 65 leases. Key to the argument will also likely be a new U.S. Geological Survey study released in the spring that suggests a far greater amount of recoverable natural gas within northwestern Colorado’s Piceance Basin than earlier believed...more

U.S. Senate Approves Outdoor REC Act

The U.S. Senate passed the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact (REC) Act November 28, moving the bill to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law before the end of the year. The bipartisan bill, passed by the U.S. House on November 14, would direct the federal government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to “assess and analyze the outdoor recreation economy of the United States and the effects attributable to it on the overall U.S. economy.” In layman’s terms, the government would shine a greater spotlight on economic effects of the estimated $646 billion outdoor industry. In conducting its assessment, the BEA “may consider employment, sales, contributions to travel and tourism and other appropriate contributing components of the outdoor recreation economy,” officials said. “The bill’s passage is groundbreaking for thousands of outdoor businesses across the country, and for anyone who hikes, bikes, hunts, skis, snowmobiles, paddles, boats, surfs, or climbs,” said officials with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), who lobbied for the bill. “These activities, and others, will likely be quantified by the federal government with data published in an annual report on their economic impacts. We expect that report to be public by the end of 2018, certifying outdoor recreation as officially recognized as a sector of the economy.”...more

Congress just rewarded a group and its members who support wilderness, monuments and other such designations and oppose land transfers to the states.

With tension mounting farmers, ranchers feeling effects of pipeline protests

Whether it's been the numerous law enforcement officers sweeping protestors out of an area, equipment and bridges set ablaze, or the tension-filled altercations between activists and law enforcement, the untold story has been the effect of the protests on all the local farmers and ranchers who are attempting to continue operating under the fragile circumstances of the Dakota Access pipeline protests.Doug Goehring, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner, said he is not only concerned, but saddened for what all the farmers and ranchers have had to endure during recent months."I've been aware from the onset of the things that have been taking place, mostly because I know the people," he said. "I went to the sheriff's department and asked them to verify some of these things and if they knew about them. Not only were they aware of some of the instances, but they had pages more of reported incidents."Farmers and ranchers have had their fences cut and hay stolen. Trespassing issues are constant. Some of their livestock has been slaughtered, and/or mutilated, or gone missing. Producers have been stopped on the road by masked activists and roads have been blocked. Drivers with no license plates or out of state license plates have played "chicken" on the road with rural residents, according to some reports. Law enforcement has had to escort school buses, schools have been locked down, and farmers and ranchers have barricaded themselves in their homes, Goehring noted."I have a farmer and rancher who operates a trucking business on the side who hasnÕt left his place, as of a week ago, for seven weeks," said Goehring. "He fears his property will be vandalized, his things destroyed. These are law abiding, good citizens. They've done nothing to no one, and they're being victimized, exploited, abused, and intimidated."...more

911 call details bull attack on local rancher

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - A Martin County rancher is hospitalized after surviving an attack by an out of control bull. The 911 call is chilling. “I’m in Indiantown.. I’m pinned down by a bull," the call starts. "I ain't got much time left. He's got me pinned down," the rancher says, pleading for help Monday morning. “We get a lot of 911 calls but I would dare say you’d have to go a long way to find one that had this drama and this intensity," says Martin County Sheriff William Snyder. It may not seem very intense when you look at the peaceful grazing scenes out by Martin County Ranches, but Monday morning deputies were called out by a rancher in trouble who for some reason, faced the ire of an angry bull. “This bull has pushed me all over the place." "He pushed you all over the place?? asks the dispatcher. "He’s still pushing me!" shouts the rancher. “The bull continued his attack on the rancher. We know that at one point, the rancher stated by phone he didn’t believe he was going to make it," said Sheriff Snyder. The rancher tells the dispatcher the bull had attacked him for about 30 minutes. Eventually, a sergeant who arrived fired three shots, killing the bull. The Sheriff says two things worked in the ranchers favor, he had his phone, and the attack happened on swampy ground...more

In election’s aftermath, urban-rural divide has never seemed wider

In Central Oregon, cattle rancher and timberland owner John Breese figures Donald J. Trump’s election may finally bring some common-sense management to the state’s choked forests. In Seattle, Conservation Northwest Executive Director Mitch Friedman warns supporters, “A lying, bigoted brute has seized power, and you’re well familiar with his intentions.” In the Willamette Valley, the heart of an Oregon wine industry that has risen to international acclaim, pioneering winemaker David Adelsheim considers the fact that his Yamhill County voted Republican, “But I don’t know a single person who voted for Trump.” In the wake of a bitter presidential campaign and tight election, the gap has never seemed so wide. “An urban-rural divide?” a commenter on the website wrote this past week. “The rural folks support racism, the urban folks do not. Make no mistake rural Oregon, if you voted for Trump, you said racism is OK.” A commenter on the other side said Portland “progressives” think people outside Multnomah County are “a bunch of uneducated hicks.” Rural residents, the commenter said, are “just about fed up with Portlandia pie in the sky BS.” “Enjoy the Trump administration, Portland, your residents are the reason Republicans are running the show.” It’s no revelation the West Coast election map looks like small islands of Democrat blue surrounded by seas of Republican red, with the votes cast in heavily populated blue cities dominating those from rural areas. The Atlantic magazine described it after President Obama’s re-election in 2012: “The new political divide is a stark division between cities and what remains of the countryside.”...more

Marin factions on animal-slaughter ban battle to sway commission

An army of people opposed to allowing the slaughter of agricultural animals in Marin implored the Marin County Planning Commission on Monday not to lift a ban on the practice, in effect since 2003. A change in the rules governing animal slaughter is one of a number of possible amendments to the county’s development code that the commission is considering. Monday’s hearing was the second of three scheduled workshops to discuss the possible amendments. The commission listened to three hours of public comment on the animal slaughter issue. A majority of the speakers voiced their opposition not only to permitting animal slaughter in Marin but also the human consumption of meat. A smaller group of people who spoke in favor of lifting the ban said it would allow embattled Marin farmers and ranchers an opportunity to further diversify their operations. Scenarios under consideration include allowing small-scale, on-farm slaughter of poultry and rabbits; the use of mobile slaughter units for larger animals; and permanently-sited slaughterhouses. “We are dealing not with something to be processed and harvested but with someone,” said Marcy Berman, founder and executive director of the Mill Valley nonprofit, SaveABunny. As she spoke, Berman cradled a large white rabbit that her organization had rescued. “This is who we are talking about being slaughtered in the back yard,” Berman said. “This is a loving, compassionate, intelligent animal that deserves a whole lot better than this. Please think if this was your dog.” Lisa Zorn, a board member of SaveABunny, said, “When I met a couple of rabbits and adopted them as my family 14 years ago, I never thought about slaughter. My animals opened my eyes and my heart.” Patti Breitman, director of the Marin Vegetarian Education Group and a co-founder of Dharma Voices for Animals, encouraged the commission “to look at the bigger picture.” “A hundred years ago it was normal, natural and deemed necessary that women stay at home, not work, not vote, wear dresses and submit to their husbands. Things do change,” Breitman said. “We have to look at animal agriculture itself including slaughter as something whose time is over,” she said. “A hundred years from now what will it look like that we spent our time arguing over the details of how to kill a sentient being.” Cindy Shelton, who said she was speaking on behalf of the Marin Association of Realtors, said allowing animal slaughter in Marin agricultural and industrial zones “would be a real estate nightmare, as far as disclosures go.” Shelton said it could make homes in Nicasio Valley “extremely difficult to sell.”...more 

How would you refute/respond to the veterinarian, realtors and cute little bunnies?
A sad commentary on property rights today.

Ranch Radio Song of The Day #1741

We'll keep swingin' today with Charlie Linville & The Fiddlin' Linvilles - You're Gonna Be Sorry Some of These Days. The tune is on the British Archives of Country Music CD Soppin' The Gravy, Vol. 1.  The Westerner

Permission to Kill Mountain Lion Granted After Cougar Kills 12 Farm Animals

A permit to shoot and possibly kill a mountain lion was granted to a ranch owner in the mountains above Malibu Monday, when a state game warden determined the lion was the culprit in the killing of a dozen farm animals over the weekend. Ten alpaca were killed at one ranch near Mulholland Highway at Decker Canyon Road Saturday. At a second, nearby location, one goat and another alpaca were torn apart Sunday. A depredation order was issued late in the afternoon, under a state law that allows a person to shoot a mountain lion if it has been killing livestock or pets. Mountain lions are not endangered or protected in California, but the lions living in the Santa Monica Mountains are cut off from the rest of the animals by freeways. Although federal parks officials have been encouraging efforts to accommodate the mountain lions, it falls to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to handle wayward cats that attack livestock. The state's policy is to not trap and relocate wayward lions, but to allow them to be killed. "The lion is obviously killing for sport -- not food," said Mary-Dee Rickards, who lies on a nearby ranch, in a statement to KBUU radio. "I know everyone who lives up here not only respects but enjoys the beautiful wildlife," she said. "But this has gone beyond a peaceful co-existence with the animals."...more

Tyranny at Standing Rock

Divide and conquer. It’s one of the oldest military strategies in the books, and it’s proven to be the police state’s most effective weapon for maintaining the status quo. How do you conquer a nation? Distract them with football games, political circuses and Black Friday sales. Keep them focused on their differences—economic, religious, environmental, political, racial—so they can never agree on anything. And then, when they’re so divided that they are incapable of joining forces against a common threat, start picking them off one by one. What we’re witnessing at Standing Rock, where activists have gathered to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline construction on Native American land, is just the latest incarnation of the government’s battle plan for stamping out any sparks of resistance and keeping the populace under control: battlefield tactics, military weaponry and a complete suspension of the Constitution. Militarized police. Riot and camouflage gear. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Drones. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Concussion grenades. Arrests of journalists. Intimidation tactics. Brute force. This is what martial law looks like, when a government disregards constitutional freedoms and imposes its will through military force. Only this is martial law without any government body having to declare it...more

Expose - Family members say they were shut out

Editor’s note: Investigative journalist Diane Dimond, whose weekly syndicated column on crime and justice appears in the Journal, is preparing a book on the nation’s elder guardianship system. It’s a system designed to protect the elderly from the unscrupulous. But as Dimond discovered, it can be dominated by a core group of court-appointed, for-profit professionals who are accused of isolating family members and draining the elders’ estates. New Mexico is no exception.

Blair and her husband, Clarence “Casey” Darnell, loved horses. They met in the late 1950s when Blair, a handsome, vibrant transplant from New Orleans, attended the University of New Mexico’s anthropology program. She and her 2-year-old daughter, Kris, visited the Darnell stables to buy a horse. But after the animal tossed Blair, she took it back, demanding that Casey break the horse or give her a refund. Casey, a World War II bomber pilot, was smitten by Blair’s spirit. They married at a friend’s North Valley home on Jan. 27, 1958. Casey adopted little Kris, and the couple started their own family on the 17-acre Darnell ranch nestled in the bosque (near what is now Coors and Paseo del Norte), where champion quarter horses were raised and trained. They had three children on that ranch: Cliff, Emily and Mary, in that order. “My mother was active in 4-H and took in lots of wayward kids to come work the ranch,” Mary Darnell recalls. “My dad was vice president of the American Quarter Horse Association and was inducted into the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2009.” Casey Darnell died in August 2001. Not long after her husband passed away, Blair was kicked by a horse and hit her head on a railroad tie when she fell. She was unconscious for about 30 minutes, but in her tough cowgirl fashion, refused medical treatment. In later years, Mary came to believe their mother’s forgetfulness was a byproduct of a brain bleed suffered during that accident. Emily and Mary say they were more than willing to help care for their mother but say they were shut out after Kris got the court involved. Kris Darnell-Kreger has declined several requests to be interviewed for this story. Under the Uniform Probate Code, proceedings in elder guardianship cases are sequestered, meaning none of the parties is allowed to speak about the case. But the Journal has learned that on Jan. 6, 2010, a petition was filed in the court of Judge Beatrice Brickhouse by attorney Gregory MacKenzie on behalf of daughter, Kris. In it, he painted a dire picture of 78-year-old Blair Darnell’s situation. The petition accused Mary, her mother’s primary caregiver, of seriously neglecting her mother’s medical needs and “self-dealing” by directing her mother into questionable financial transactions. MacKenzie also accused Emily and Cliff of less serious actions that adversely affected their mother. The next day, Judge Brickhouse granted the petition, appointed a temporary guardian/conservator, a so-called court visitor and a psychologist to perform a neuropsychological exam of Blair Darnell. She had not appeared before the judge but was immediately referred to in court documents as “an adult incapacitated person.” No hearing was ever held to determine whether any of the allegations against the adult children was true. By Jan. 7, the system was in full motion and Blair Darnell would lose all ability to control the final years of her life...more

CFIA orders mass slaughter of cattle

About 10,000 head of cattle in the Medicine Hat region will be slaughtered by order of federal animal health inspectors, officials said Monday. Canadian Food Inspection Agency say its likely the animals came in close contact with bovine tuberculosis during the grazing season. CFIA workers have been tracing movement of cows for weeks from about three dozen quarantined ranches after a cow from Jenner tested positive in a U.S. slaughterhouse. Senior CFIA officials told reporters Monday they now believe the index herd, from which the first cow came, commingled on grazing leases with cattle owned by an undisclosed number of ranchers and which returned to 18 different locations. That number of locations sat at six premises last week, said Dr. Harpeet Kochhar, the CFIA’s chief veterinarian, adding figures typically change as tracing in conducted. “This was to be expected,” said Kochhar. “Nearly all the cattle on the 18 premises have been tested and their removal and the humane destruction of all cattle on those premises is continuing.” The number of positive reactions from medical testing has not risen from six, a figure reported weeks ago, he said. All 10,000 will go to a contracted abattoir in Lacombe, where the carcasses will be subject to physical internal inspection. The meat will be allowed into the food supply if cattle are negative from both tests...more

Congress finally begins to notice the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock

With the presidential election fading in the rearview mirror, some mainstream media attention has finally been diverted away from the Donald Trump circus to other notable but neglected news stories — leading to much needed, and in some cases unwanted, national attention. Just as the Army Corps of Engineers has ordered the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to vacate the federal land they’ve occupied in North Dakota within days, the protests to protect tribal land and a vital water resource has garnered the attention of several high-profile Democratic members of Congress. In a letter sent to Attorney General Loretta Lynch late last week, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey called on the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the tactics used by police against peaceful protesters (who have designated themselves “water protectors”) and to deploy federal monitors to Standing Rock as reports emerge of violence against protesters. Booker cited “ongoing danger to both protesters and law enforcement,” at the sites of ongoing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which indigenous protesters and their allies believe could contaminate the Missouri River, and desecrate sacred tribal sites. Last week, as the nation prepared to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, police used water cannons and rubber bullets on people attempting to halt the pipeline’s construction. Booker’s letter urged the DOJ to investigate “all credible reports of inappropriate police tactics … and send federal monitors to Standing Rock to ensure that protesters can peacefully assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights.” The New Jersey Democrat’s letter comes after Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., sent a letter to Lynch expressing a similar sentiment ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday...more

1908: Mrs. R. Grumbles Is New Mexico Cattle Queen

December 11, 1908, The Carlsbad Current

Widow with Seven Children Successfully Manages Large Place--An Expert with the Lariat and Branding Iron Mrs. R. Grumbles of Carrizozo, N.M., is a resourceful little woman, a good mother, and immaculate housekeeper, a business woman, a ranch owner and "the cattle on a thousand hills" bear her mark and brand. Her ranch home is five miles north of the town. It is a beautiful little home in the valley, nestled at the foot of the mountains, where the color of the cedar floats through her cool rooms, lending additional restfulness to the place. Virginia creeper and bitter sweet vines shade the gallery and a sweet eglantine brier grows close to the door. Other roses thrive and the "salt cedar" waves its long plumes of pink flowers gracefully to the mountain breeze. Mrs. Grumbles went to New Mexico 20 years ago with her husband and 17 of these years have been spent at her Carrizozo ranch. She was left a widow 12 years ago, with seven children, five daughters and two sons. The youngest daughter is now 12 years old-a typical western girl. Mrs. Grumbles attends to all the business of the ranch, even to the most minute details, and she has all well in hand. Difficulties she encounters not a few, and her share of care and sorrow, but with it all she is calm and serene, doing her duty under all circumstances. She is a fine marksman, and when in the season she can bring down a fine deer or bag a fine fat turkey before breakfast. There is not a cowboy on the plains that can excel her in throwing the lariat, and when she has to she can mark and brand the calves with a deftness that would put many a young lubber to shame...more

Editorial: 1 person shouldn’t make or break a U.S. monument

There is a good argument that one person acting unilaterally should not be able to set aside hundreds of thousands of acres under the guise of conservation without adequate debate or discussion about what makes that acreage so very valuable in its pristine form. Likewise, there is a good argument that one person should not be able to put all those acres back into play without adequate public debate or discussion about why that was the wrong decision.

Call it a breakdown of our nation’s system of checks and balances. More specifically, call it a gaping hole in the 110-year-old Antiquities Act.

...Now Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, head of the House Committee on Natural Resources, wants President-elect Donald Trump to abolish the 47 national monuments created during the Obama and Clinton administrations, specifically Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument as well as the proposed Bears Ears area in his state.

It’s questionable if Trump would be able to do that – an official with the National Parks Conservation Association points out “there is no precedent” for a president taking back a national monument, and a former chief attorney for the Department of Interior says a U.S. Attorney General opinion from the 1930s examined the issue “and concluded that a president cannot undo a monument.”

That leaves the question relatively open. There is no question that Congress can “undo” a monument, and it has – 11 times.

...U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, all N.M. Democrats, have vocally criticized Bishop’s proposal. U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., is espousing a middle-of-the-road approach, unsurprising since he introduced legislation to protect 60,000 acres of the Organ Mountains versus the 496,000 acres Obama ultimately set aside.

Pearce points out “the Antiquities Act requires that a president designate the smallest possible footprint in order to achieve the desired environmental preservation” and emphasizes “these decisions must be made in Congress.”

Hunter harvests an 8-point...doe?

It is about halfway through Deer Hunt 2016 in Wisconsin, and one buck tale may just be the story of a lifetime. Wayne Douville was hunting near Abrams when he got this eight-point buck - or so he thought. "The deer came up out of a swampy area," said Douville. The Green Bay man says he first saw the deer two years ago. He believes it returned Monday afternoon. "At 4:40, this buck stepped out, and I could see his antlers right away, and the body size, I knew who he was," he said. Two shots later, Douville had his deer.  "When we hung him up to dress him out, we found out that he wasn't a buck," said Douville. The eight-point doe weighed 222 pounds. "This is the trophy of a lifetime. I said to my wife last night, you could live 10 lifetimes and not have this happen to you," said Douville. So how common is this phenomenon? "I would say probably a one in 100,000 chance," said Jeff Pritzl, district wildlife supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "It's just a matter of a higher level of testosterone hormone than a normal female would have, and it expresses itself in a masculine way," he said. So how do you register it? "A deer with antlers three inches or longer is considered an adult buck from a carcass standpoint," said Pritzl. "There was no way to analyze this thing, obviously. It was just I saw the deer, the horns, I knew it was the deer I was after, and I took the shot," said Douville. "I'm going to have a full-body mount done on it, and I hope my wife will let me put it in the living room, although that's a long shot," he said...more

Monday, November 28, 2016

3 Steps to Stop Trump and Create a 'Bernie Sanders Revolution' in the Environmental Movement

The devastating defeat of Hillary Clinton and the environmental agenda we hoped she would support has given American environmentalists a key opportunity to remake the movement and create a "Bernie Sanders Revolution" that will help stop Donald Trump in his first 100 days in office and lead us into a greener future. Here are three key steps we must take right now: 1. Do everything possible to stop Donald Trump. In terms of administrative action, expect Trump to try to gut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, push an intense fossil-fuel agenda through the Departments of Energy and Interior, and over-ride federal laws whenever possible. To fight these actions, environmental organizations will need to take to the streets and the courts—non-violent direct action as well as lawsuits will help slow or undermine Trump's agenda and draw media and public attention to our side...2. Ignite and reform the mainstream environmental movement. In the same way that the Bernie Sanders Revolution is igniting and reforming the mainstream Democratic Party, so too must we ignite and reform the mainstream environmental movement. We need to sweep out the old tactics and ideas and sweep in a bunch of new aggressive people that have fire in their belly...3. Engage local people and local politics. If there's one thing the 2016 election taught us, it's that people matter and populism is alive again in America. Sanders' populism almost unearthed Clinton's political machine. Trump's populism de-throned two huge political powers—Clinton's Democratic Party and Bush's Republican Party. We need to end the top-down focus of environmental organizations where a handful of mainstream groups and funders define the environmental agenda, and we must re-focus on local people and local communities...more

You might want to remember these items as you observe the news on the national and local level.

Complaints grow over whites turning Dakota Access protest into hippie festival

Tension is brewing within the Dakota Access protest as complaints grow about outside activists trashing the camps, mooching off donations, and treating the anti-pipeline demonstration like a Burning Man-style festival for hippies. “Need to get something off my chest that I witnessed and found very disturbing in my brief time there that I believe many others have started to speak up about as well. White people colonizing the camps,” said Alicia Smith on Facebook. “They are coming in, taking food, clothing etc and occupying space without any desire to participate in camp maintenance and without respect of tribal protocols,” she said. “These people are treating it like it is Burning Man or The Rainbow Gathering and I even witnessed several wandering in and out of camps comparing it to those festivals.” Her Nov. 14 post, now making the rounds on social media, said outsiders are “literally subsisting entirely off the generosity of native people (AND YOUR DONATIONS if you have been donating) who are fighting to protect their water just because they can.” A local deputy who asked to remain anonymous told WDAY-AM’s Rob Port that most of the protesters are white, and that some have used racial slurs against black, Hispanic and Native American officers...more

In Arizona, reptile poaching made easy

by Tim Vanderpool

...Western twin-spotteds are hardly the biggest rattlers, barely two feet long and thin as a thumb. But they’re pretty, with parallel, rust-colored dots trailing down their backs, and sleek, almond-shaped heads, and that makes them highly prized among collectors. As does the fact that taking them is prohibited by Arizona law. On popular internet reptile-trading sites such as, a prime twin-spot can easily fetch $1,500. The twin-spot’s range is limited to a few high mountains in southern Arizona and northern Mexico, and climate change has already taken a toll. Less rain means fewer spiny lizards to eat, while rising temperatures force the snakes to move higher up. Now that they’ve reached top elevations, there’s nowhere else for them to go. Prival’s research population probably took another hit from the enormous Horseshoe Fire in 2011. He estimates that perhaps 70 twin-spotteds still dwell on this slope, down from an estimated 86 in 2009. Poaching is only making it worse. “If just seven of those snakes are taken by poachers,” he says, “that’s 10 percent of the population right there.” Although collecting twin-spotted rattlesnakes is illegal in Arizona — and a federal law called the Lacey Act prohibits buying and selling protected wildlife — there’s little chance that thieves will be caught. Even if they are, they likely won’t pay more than a few hundred dollars in fines. For commercial dealers, who can earn thousands from a single animal, that’s simply part of business overhead. Meanwhile, the difficult task of proving that a snake was poached falls upon the authorities. Nor are twin-spotted rattlesnakes the only targets...more

Liberty Classroom - Cyber Monday Sale

What were you taught in high school about U.S. history? How much time was spent on and how accurate were your lessons on the Constitution? You can learn the truth at Liberty Classroom.

This is my third year of subscribing, and I've found the lectures to be enlightening and well presented.  It's run by Tom Woods, the best-selling author of 12 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History.

I also like the free e-books he provides from time to time.

They are having a Cyber Monday sale/discount today. So if this sounds interesting to you, or someone you might know, go to Liberty Classroom and check it out.


Could honey bee brood be the future of food?

Doesn't that look delicious?
With human population set to reach 9 billion by 2050, eating insects is gaining attention as a possible way to feed the world. A paper published in the Journal of Apicultural Research shows how honey bee brood -- the larvae and pupae of drones -- has great potential as a food source. Bee brood is already eaten as a delicacy in many countries, including Mexico, Thailand and Australia. It has a nutty flavor with a crunchy texture when eaten cooked or dried, and is a versatile ingredient used in soups and egg dishes. It also has high nutritional value, similar to beef in terms of protein quality and quantity. Beekeepers are accustomed to removing brood to manage Varroa mite, the most harmful parasite affecting honey bees worldwide. According to Professor Annette Bruun Jensen of the University of Copenhagen and her colleagues, this practice makes drone brood an abundant source of farmed insects with untapped potential for human consumption. Brood farming has a number of advantages, including the relatively little arable space and low financial investment required to set up hives. Research on honey bee biology and breeding also has a long history compared to other candidates for insect farming. But several challenges would need to be met for this method of farming to take off -- none more so than in the harvesting of brood, which is very fragile and thus difficult to remove intact from the hive...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1740

It's Swingin' Monday and let's see if we can't get your foot tapping to The Yodelin' Blues by Skip Ewing. The tune is on his 1991 CD Naturally.  The Westerner

To save SF Bay and its dying Delta, state aims to replumb California

The report’s findings were unequivocal: Given the current pace of water diversions, the San Francisco Bay and the Delta network of rivers and marshes are ecological goners, with many of its native fish species now experiencing a “sixth extinction,” environmental science’s most-dire definition of ecosystem collapse. Once a vast, soaked marsh and channel fed by the gushing San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers, the Delta has diminished dramatically over the previous century as those rivers and their mountain tributaries have been diverted to irrigate farms and Bay Area urbanity. With winnowing supplies of chinook salmon available for food, Orcas off the coast are starving. So, too, are seals and fish-eating birds. And the Gulf of the Farallones, a national marine sanctuary, is suffering from a lack of freshwater fed by the bay. Those grim conclusions in this fall’s report by scientists at the Bay Institute, an environmental group focused on the bay’s ecosystem, would normally have set off alarm bells — except that those warnings have been sounding for decades. That’s about as long as state agencies have been in the planning process to replumb the region that supplies close to half of California’s water and supports world-leading agricultural production, fisheries and tourism. The state’s goal: recalibrate the water flows that have drained vital rivers down to as low as 10 percent of their natural levels — just one-fifth of the 60 percent flow scientists say is necessary to preserve the ecosystem.

Ranching and conservation go hand in hand on Triple P Ranch

To Michael Peterson, ranching and environmental conservation aren’t separate concepts. In his mind, being a steward of the land means undertaking projects that benefit both the ranch and the wildlife that also call that place home. “Conservation is a really big deal for us,” Peterson said as he drove his pickup around his family’s 7,400-acre cattle ranch based near Nephi. “We feel that the way to survive economically is to be good conservationists.” Peterson has spent most of his life on the Triple P Ranch, with the exception of a mission he served in Korea. He speaks softly and affectionately of all things concerning the ranch — from the eating habits of the cows on the range (they’ll try just about anything, but crested wheatgrass is their favorite), to the aesthetics of the juniper-studded rolling hills that make up much of the ranch. You aren’t struck like with the redwoods, but it really is pretty in its own way. Peterson learned his conserving ways from his father, Cary Peterson, who founded the ranch around 1961, having grown up on an agricultural operation near Cedar Fort in Utah County. Some of the conservation efforts on the ranch are fairly common-sense, such as practicing rotational grazing. Cattle are allowed to graze in a field for a few weeks, before being moved so that field can rest for a year. One initiative for which the Triple P Ranch partnered with both the state Division of Wildlife Resources and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service was juniper chaining. Juniper chaining is the practice of chopping down large areas of densely-growing juniper trees. Though destroying 1,000 acres of trees — as the Triple P did last winter — may seem counterintuitive to conservation efforts, there are valid reasons behind the demolition...more

Environmentalists Fear Trump Could Reverse Decades of Progress

Some Texas conservation groups fear that gains made in recent years for cleaner air and water could be rolled back by Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress. They are concerned that President-elect Trump has called climate change "a hoax," opposes many EPA regulations, and has several advisers known to be "climate-change deniers." Jim Marston, regional director of the Texas office of the Environmental Defense Fund, said the new powers-to-be appear to be taking aim at some of the Obama Administration's signature accomplishments, including the Paris Climate Accords and the Clean Power Plan - which might be more challenging than Trump assumes. "He can't immediately undo the Clean Power Plan, because it's a final rule," he said. "It takes a while to do a new notice and comment period, many months." Marston said Trump's campaign promises are also putting progress on other issues, from renewable energy and methane reduction, to endangered species and public land use, at risk. But that won't stop environmental advocates in those areas from trying to convince him of their importance. Marston warns the harm could be irreparable if the U.S. withdraws its support for the 190-nation Paris Climate Accords treaty...more

The Big Oil Allies and Beltway Insiders Leading Trump’s Department of the Interior — and How to Resist Them

By Jimmy Tobias

If Washington, D.C., is a swamp, as Donald Trump likes to say, then Doug Domenech and David Bernhardt are some of the swamp’s most-seasoned serpents. Consummate Republican operatives with close ties to Big Oil and other extractive industries, both Domenech and Bernhardt are leading players in the Trump team’s Department of the Interior transition. They’re the guys helping the president-elect staff a bureaucracy that manages 500 million acres of federal land, implements the Endangered Species Act, runs the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and controls key oil and gas leasing programs, among other duties. And their ascension is an ugly omen for this country’s public lands and wildlife. Bernhardt, for his part, has a long history as a right-wing influence peddler. Before sidling up to Trump, he spent eight years as a lawyer and lobbyist at the powerhouse firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. During his time there, according to federal disclosure forms, Bernhardt represented Samson Resources, an oil and gas developer in the American West. He lobbied on behalf of Rosemont Copper, a proposed open pit mine on national forest land in Arizona. And he represented wind developers, Vail Resorts, and California’s Westlands Water District, which is a determined foe of the Endangered Species Act. In the George W. Bush era, Bernhardt was a high-level official in the Interior, where he had a mixed record. On one hand, he presided over the federal protection of the polar bear, flawed though it was. And on the other, he helped craft rules that exempted carbon emissions from regulatory authority. Bernhardt was brought in first to lead Trump’s Interior transition. Recently, though, as the incoming administration tried to distance itself from lobbyists, it was announced that Domenech had taken over. It is unclear what role, if any, Bernhardt still has. The Trump team did not provide comment. Like Bernhardt, Domenech served in the Bush administration. Like Bernhardt, he was part of an Interior leadership team that was cozy with fossil fuel interests and plagued by ethics scandals. Domenech was even tangentially involved in the Jack Abramoff corruption affair, as the Denver Post has reported. More recently, he became the director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s “Fueling Freedom” project, which seeks to explain “the forgotten moral case for fossil fuels.”...more

 In my upcoming column I report on how unhappy the enviros are.

How Warming Is Threatening The Genetic Diversity of Species

The meltwater stonefly has adapted to a very specific and extreme niche — the cold, clear water that pours off of the melting ice and snow from the glaciers in Glacier National Park in Montana. This bug is on the leading edge of climate change because its frigid mountain habitat is rapidly disappearing. Since 1850, 85 percent of the ice in Glacier has disappeared, and all of it is forecast to vanish completely by 2020. In a study published this year, researchers found the cold-loving insect in trouble. “Their physiology requires really, really cold water, and they can’t survive once the water gets above an average of 9 degrees Centigrade during August,” said Joe Giersch, a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), who has studied this and a similar insect, the western glacier stonefly. Meltwater stoneflies and western glacier stoneflies move upstream to find cold water as things warm, and because of steeper mountain topography, populations become separated. This has interrupted gene flow, causing some genetics to disappear. As genes dwindle, the species is losing genetic variation and likely “adaptive capacity” — the genetics that give species the ability to evolve needed traits as habitat conditions change. It’s a big part of why the meltwater stonefly (Lednia tumana) is being considered for listing as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. And many of its fellow high-altitude insects are in trouble too. This stonefly, Giersch and his co-authors wrote, “likely represent a guild of species facing similar threats in alpine headwaters worldwide.”...more

 I've been worried and grieving over those high-altitude insects for quite awhile...

Future of Denver’s South Park watershed up in air, BLM planners need another 5 years

The wide open nature of South Park, Denver’s watershed and a relatively safe space for wildlife, remains up in the air – all the more so with president-elect Donald Trump’s transition team favoring oil and gas drillers. Conservation groups have urged faster work by President Obama’s Bureau of Land Management to lock in protection across hundreds of thousands of acres. But BLM officials say their master planning requires another five years. “South Park is really a world-class fishing destination – one of those special places worth protecting,” Trout Unlimited chief executive Chris Wood said. “We understand that it takes time to bring parties together and conduct landscape-scale evaluations, but we’d like to see a greater sense of urgency from the BLM in getting master-leasing plans complete. The slow pace has been frustrating at times for stakeholders,” Wood said. For more than two years, BLM officials who manage much of South Park have been developing a plan to balance conservation with economic activities including oil and gas drilling that can degrade the environment. The work begun in 2014 was aimed at setting out where companies could drill, where wildlife would prevail, and where houses could be built to maximize protection of delicate ecosystems across South Park, an inter-mountain valley southwest of Denver. No plan will be done for years, well into a Trump presidency, BLM spokesman Steven Hall said...more

WOTUS Is ‘Doomed' Under Trump, Experts Say

The future of the Obama administration’s top achievement for source water policy is not looking hopeful. The waters of the U.S. rule (“WOTUS”) is an update to Clean Water Act regulations that the U.S. EPA says is necessary because Supreme Court decisions obscure jurisdictional questions under the law. Even before staunch WOTUS opponent Donald Trump was elected, the rule was mired in difficulty. As Greenwire put it, WOTUS was on “life support.” “Dozens of lawsuits and a nationwide stay halted U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers' plans to implement the new standards on the ground,” the report said. But the election results mean the outlook for WOTUS is getting even worse. Vermont Law School professor Pat Parenteau said, per Greenwire: "I think this rule is ultimately doomed." What does this mean for the daily operations of water and wastewater utility managers?...more

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Turkey leg traditions

by Julie Carter

You are reading this after the day of reckoning over the turkey leg and who actually got to feast on it this year. However, on this end of the publishing deadline, everywhere I turn, I hear people making plans for this holiday feast week. A trip, shopping, cooking and the inspiration for it all -- Thanksgiving Dinner.

In the periphery, there are bets on football games and plots for spending vacation time from school classes. Paintball wars, cattle workings, roping, skiing and lots and lots of eating, napping, visiting and family togetherness.

Somehow, a turkey drumstick, dressing and of course the traditional pumpkin pie, still have the power to bring the family home, even from afar. Almost nothing that takes place on Thanksgiving couldn’t happen on another day of the year. I’m fairly sure the Pilgrims at the first such event didn’t look at the calendar and say, “Let’s do this on a Thursday in November. Is that good for you?”

So what is it really that keeps us coming back to the historical observance of collecting a crowd, cooking up everything in the house and eating until it’s gone and we are moaning our way back to our tepees and cabins.

I believe it is the tradition that brings families together year after year, under all circumstances. Dinner is the bonus. And rural America remains steeped in tradition for many things, but none more than a traditional holiday.

We don’t get too revved up about President’s Day, Mother’s Day (except to hold a branding) and Secretary’s Day, but give us the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas and we’ll show you down-home country tradition.

There are a few folks that hold with the thought that the pilgrims more than likely ate chicken-fried elk steak and chose to follow that menu instead of de-feathering a fowl.

Others have sought a variation to the roasted turkey bird and opted for the deep-fried version. This cooking method generated a retail Tsunami of turkey deep-fryers followed by the landslide of warnings about how the combination of fire and hot oil can quickly turn a fryer into a vertical flame thrower.

Family traditions will again be orchestrated by mothers in the way they were indoctrinated to the holiday. They will roast turkeys, hams or a side of beef, make a variety of dressing (or stuffing), potatoes, gravy, rolls and of course pies.

Families will sit around big tables stretched to the limit, with extra chairs, benches, and maybe even a flour barrel set in place for a short kid to sit on.

As families grew and scattered to the zip codes far and wide, the changes came in location, but not in traditions. It’s not quite like the days of old when “over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go” offered images of horse-drawn sleighs and piles of snow.  We’ve evolved to pickup trucks, baby car seats, long miles of paved highways in a snow-free Southwest. But the destination promises the same as the song:

Over the river, and through the wood —
Now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Enjoy your holiday, before, during and after the turkey. You are making memories you don’t yet have.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Hintervolks Revelation

Discretionary Spending
Hintervolks Revelation
Remember the Stimulus!
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            What a week this has been.
            The volume of exchanges from my source of news, the Hintervolks, has diminished. Most of that crew of Americans is now incredulous watching the marches, the rioting, and the meltdown of the angry American Left. It is actually pretty amazing what commercial spontaneity can do when the buses are lined up, the infrastructure is mobilized, and the professional protesters take to the streets. Even the chanting reminds you of the antics of the professional yell leaders of green mobs crowing for more of something free and supposedly natural.
            “What do we want?”
            “More Things!”
            “When do we want it?”
            “Right NOW!”
            “How bad do we want it?”
            “Real Bad!”
            Diary reminders
            I spent too much of the last two days trying to stay warm (and cool), wiping my nose, coughing, and attempting to find a single entry of interest in my great grandmother’s diary. On that account I have been unsuccessful, but what a journey back in time it has been. It has reminded me that she was one of the most remarkable people of her time.
            She was born in Texas and came west in 1884 walking alongside a wagon loaded with bare necessities, trailing ahead of a herd of cattle in order to have camp ready and meals prepared upon arrival of the cowboys and the herd at a nightly bedding ground, and arriving on the banks of Mogollon Creek with nothing other than God’s creation on all points of the compass. She was seven years old.
            Ten years later in 1894 she was accepted into the first class of the New Mexico Normal School which would become New Mexico Teachers College which would eventually become Western New Mexico University. In 1897, she earned a teaching credential, and, perhaps, the first college degree in the history of her family. She never taught, but her surviving grandchildren universally remember her as teaching every day of her life. Her gifts were largely written words.
            An entry in December 1954 noted she had written and sent 172 Christmas cards.
            My uncle, Bill, who has been so instrumental in revealing so much of the nuances of her life aside from the diaries and my own brief memories of her, remembers spending much time with her after Grandpa Rice died in the ‘40s and awakening around the 3:00 AM witching hour and she would be sitting in her chair writing. Daybreak would put her in her garden or orchards weeding or irrigating and singing hymns to herself or whomever might be there alongside her.
            I have a copy of a letter she wrote “to her grandchildren and to those yet unborn” of various events including the horrors of the Apache raids in 1885, her memory of the buffalo soldiers, the growth of the community at Cliff, and things most important to her. Through it all I am struck with the moderation of tone in all observations, the absence of malice regardless of circumstances, and the importance she built around family. Her home was a whirlwind of activity. In a one week period in 1951, I counted 13 different cooks who were party to meals prepared in her kitchen on the big wood burning stove that I can remember. Given names were the normal references with few exceptions. You had to know who she was talking about or you are lost in context. “The twins” were one of those exceptions and everybody who knows the family knows immediately who she referenced (was it because she couldn’t tell Jean and Janet apart?).
            She was the family matriarch, but that became more important following Lee’s death. She kept tallies of cattle from sons and daughter coming and going. Cull cows and bulls going to market, and grain coming and or being dispensed from the granary. Her 1951 property and personal property taxes totaled $419.97, but that was only part of the business that day of diary entries. “Robert, Fayette, Blue, Joe and Donald worked cattle at the Rastus Place. All of them got wet. Donald, Robert, and Edwin worked Robert’s cows, Donald took Blue’s horse home, Billy fed the cows in field, Minnie brought one gallon and three quarts of milk”.
            She got to see “Rolland and Billy’s FFA jackets” and “they are so nice”.
            “In the evening it was still raining and Francis, Stella Mae, Doris, Pat, Fran, Ethel, Betty, Beth, David (joined the group for supper). We had fried chicken and Betty fixed the most beautiful flowers for the table. We all ate ice cream.”
            She never drove and “traded Lee’s 1941 Dodge and $150 to boot for a 2½ ton bobtail truck for the ranch”. She worked on the (International Farmall) ‘M’ too many times and finally sent it to somebody in Hatch to overhaul.
            Work was her passion, her pleasure, and her lifelong companion. “Work is a blessing” she wrote January 14, 1954. In two other places I found Kiplings’s Work is a Blessing in its entirety written in her diary. What she didn’t do was worship the monetary results of that work. She was never materialistic. What I have looked for in vain up to this hour was the entry I once found where she divulges she never owned a pair of silk stockings, had not been to a ball game in the gym (up to that time) that was built on lands her husband and she donated to the community scores of years earlier for the school, and never saw much of the world outside of the view of the horizons on her walk from Texas and the Gila Valley of New Mexico where she spent the remainder of her life.
            Her discretionary spending was nearly zero.
What she left was a ranch for each of her four offspring, nearly universal respect from the community, and bills always paid in full and on time. She hated debt which probably limited the expanse of hills and canyon bottoms alike that once had PIT branded cattle.
            All of America could do well by learning to emulate the life of Mary Belle Shelley Rice who we knew simply as … Ma.
            Hintervolks revelation
            This looming budget debate is going to be a donnybrook.
            As you should know, there has been no federal budget since 2007. Federal law requires an annual budget, but nary a single one has been done for eight years and the fellow in the White House and both political parties should be marched to the woodshed as a consequence.
            The law has been compromised.
            This matter hasn’t been a point of discussion within the press. Rather, it is a matter coming to light and the attention of the emerging grass roots news services, the voices of the common people, the Hintervolk, through social media.
            Let’s start by reviewing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The thrust of the act was to inject fiscal stimulus into the economy in order to avoid a meltdown. The stimulus was just short of one trillion dollars or $986B. That bump constituted a growth of about 20% in federal spending, and, of course, that spending went directly to the deficit. We were told that approximately 30% of the total was to be spent in 2009 and the remaining 70% in 2010.
            The truth, though, now appears that the mother of all stimuli didn’t get spent in 2010. It has continued to be spent, and, in fact, has been replicated in each of the ensuing years when no federal budget was created or approved. In other words, the stimulus was not the purported $986B. Rather, it is the accumulation of a whopping $7.265T stimulus spanning eight years.
            The avoidance of creating a budget, the complicity of all elected leadership, and the emergence of these dreadful continuing resolutions (CR) has allowed the duplication of previous year’s discretionary spending of nearly a trillion dollars to be placed in the hands of the president. This was done on the basis of baseline budgeting which, in the absence of a federal budget, simply rolls previous year expenditures forward with authorized multipliers.
            The scheme worked.
In 2015 under Paul Ryan’s leadership, even the debt limit was removed so they would not have to go back through the process for approval of spending authority. There was reason why no budgeting was done and these CRs were approved. Money was being authorized by outright gimmick without open debate.
In order to try to verify this hypothesis being circulated through social media, I looked at the federal spending since 2007.  I believe the numbers verify the assertion. At 2007 spending levels, the federal government was spending just over $2.7T annually. Without an approved budget since, the average annual expenditure over that baseline has averaged $897B.
There have been eight stimulus packages!

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “There is more reason every day to install term limits on ALL of Washington.”