Friday, April 26, 2013

LaMalfa supports FAA bill

The north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa today supported a bill that aims to do away with the Obama administration-imposed furloughs of Federal Aviation Administration employees that have been clogging airports nationwide.

From LaMalfa:
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) today voted in favor of a measure that will undo furloughs of air traffic controllers through the end of the fiscal year. The bill, HR 1765, permits the FAA to transfer $253 million in FY2013 to cover the costs of air traffic controllers and other essential employees at the Federal Aviation Administration. The bill does not add funding but merely shifts funds from low priority spending to high priority spending.

“There is no reason why a less than 5% cut should have resulted in 40% of all flights being delayed. Inaction by the administration has forced Congress in a bi-partisan effort to do the work the White House refuses to do,” said Representative LaMalfa. “The FAA’s poorly managed sequestration cuts exemplify the Obama Administration’s objective to ‘maximize the pain’ of his sequester cuts for political gain. Instead of cutting wasteful government spending, the cuts show a far-reaching contempt for the American public. Families, business, and individuals across the country plan every day to manage their finances in a responsible and smart method, why can’t government?”

“I do not think it is unreasonable to ask the FAA, whose budget more than doubled in the last decade, to reduce find other ways to reduce its $15.8 million budget by approximately five percent,” continued LaMalfa. “This legislation takes the necessary steps to alleviate the impact felt by the American people from the cuts and finds sensible savings.”

HR 1765 passed the House 361-41.

Is Obama covering up Boston?

John Hinderaker at Power Line asserts that the events surrounding the supposed interrogation of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suggest a possible cover-up by the Obama administration:

A snippet:
It is possible that Tsarvaev may someday provide a fuller explanation of the events that led up to the marathon bombing, perhaps as a condition of a plea bargain. But for the foreseeable future, at least, the Obama administration’s decision to go the route of criminal prosecution guarantees Tsarnaev’s silence. Which means that, at least for now, all we have to go on is the administration’s assurance–based, apparently, on a shake of the head–that the brothers acted alone. This assurance, which seems laughably tenuous, has nevertheless been reported by every news outlet in the United States.

We trust that there will be a transparent investigation into the marathon bombing and that the facts will be fully and openly disclosed, without undue delay. But if the Obama administration wants to obstruct the investigation and prevent all of the facts from being known soon, if ever, it is off to an excellent start.
Transparency? From the Obama administration and its Senate allies? Good luck.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Congratulations

... to Sheldon Overson of McArthur, who was named the state FFA reporter during this week's annual state FFA leadership conference in Fresno.

The Capital Press' Cecilia Parsons has the details.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Won't you step into my office?



One of many reasons I'm thankful that my newsroom days are in the past: when the thermometer tips the 80-degree mark, the office moves out onto the deck.

I've been working on some long-term stuff this week, which explains the relative blog silence of late, but I've had plenty of opportunity to be out in the sunshine. And there's plenty more on the way, according to the National weather Service.

Among my upcoming reports, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association is pushing several bills in Congress that would ease the paperwork burden for ranchers who have grazing permits on federal lands.

For my update on the legislation, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Orland rancher picked for leadership



Orland rancher Shannon Douglass has been chosen as one of 10 farmers and ranchers from across the country to take part in a national leadership class.

She is participating in the American Farm Bureau Federation's Partners in Agricultural Leadership program, which aims to help young growers enhance their leadership skills and use them to benefit agriculture.

Also participating will be Elizabeth Kohtz of Twin Falls, Idaho, who won the Idaho Farm Bureau's 2012 Discussion Meet. She and Douglass will join PAL participants from Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The class will help participants develop their skills in problem-solving, persuasion and consensus-building while learning about critical agricultural and public policy issues, according to an AFBF news release.

After they graduate, the students will be prepared to represent agriculture in the media, on speaking circuits or in legislative activities, the AFBF asserts.

Douglass (pictured, left) is a former chair of the California Farm Bureau Federation's Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. She is also a former Capital Press board member.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Station plans gun-rights tribute

A radio station in Siskiyou County is planning to air a tribute to the Second Amendment this evening.

From a news released passed along by Erin Ryan:
Buffalo Broadcasting will have a tribute program to the Second Amendment and the anniversary of the battles of Concord and Lexington on Friday April 19th. KSYC 103.9 FM will air this program at 6pm. This broadcast can also be listened to on the internet buy going to www.ksyc1039.com then click on listen live. KSIZ will air the program at 10am and 6pm on Friday. Redding and Red Bluff should tune in on 102.3 Weed, Mt Shasta and Scott Valley should tune to 102.3 FM and Yreka should tune to 101.7 FM.

Freedom has never been and is not now "free". It was paid for in blood by American Patriots. We cannot possibly keep everyone safe before the fact. To do that we would have to become a police state. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, "Those willing to trade liberty for temporary security, will achieve and deserve neither". Our right to defense of Life, Liberty and Property predate the Constitution. They are "Natural and Inalienable Rights given us as Free and Independent Human Beings by our Creator, Our God!!!

The Bill of Rights simply Declares what all free men already know. That, over which the government has no authority.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Obama fudging unemployment data

So says none other than his nominee to run the Department of Labor.

From the Washington Times:
President Obama’s nominee to run the Labor Department on Thursday acknowledged the administration has “understated” the nation’s unemployment rate in his Senate confirmation hearing.

The Obama administration has touted more jobs and a declining unemployment rate that shrunk to 7.6 percent in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But considering the unemployed workers who have stopped looking for jobs and those who have accepted part-time work when they wanted full-time work, the rate jumps to 13.8 percent, said Tom Perez, the former Maryland labor secretary tapped by President Obama to run the U.S. Labor Department.

“In that sense, it understates the unemployment rate,” Mr. Perez said at the hearing.

Sen. Bernie Sanders called this rate “horrendous.”

Abuse-video bill put on hold

The California Cattlemen's Association and authors of a bill that would regulate animal-abuse videos or photos taken at livestock facilities have put the legislation on hold while they fine-tune some of the details.

From the CCA:
After months of working on a bill that would require evidence of animal abuse to be shared with law enforcement, the California Cattlemen’s Association has chosen to push the pause button instead of the stop button on the AB 343 in order to allow more in-depth discussion on the issue.

“Animal welfare has always been and remains a top priority for beef cattle producers across the state of California,” said CCA President Tim Koopmann upon the decision to hold the bill in committee. “We appreciate Assemblymember Patterson’s willingness to push this bill forward despite opposition. We feel opposition to the bill will prevent it from moving forward at this time and as such have requested Patterson hold the bill. We look forward to continuing with him on this important legislation.”

AB 343 would mandate that anyone outside the media who intentionally documents farm animal abuse share a copy of the evidence with law enforcement within 120 hours. In addition to providing a fair timeline for reporting the abuse, the bill upholds current whistleblower laws to ensure no retaliation can take place against those reporting abuse.

“Without alerting authorities to instances of abuse, those responsible for abuse can’t be held accountable. That is what this bill aims to fix,” Koopmann said.

CCA has worked with multiple groups, including journalist organizations, to make amendments to the legislation in effort to garner support. Several groups have dropped their opposition to the bill as a result.
Speaking of media, apparently some have erroneously (or deliberately) reported that the bill is dead, which I've been assured it is not.

But carving out an exemption for "the media" raises an interesting question: Just who would be exempt? Nowadays anyone with a smart phone and a Twitter account could be considered a journalist. So could the Capital Press withhold abuse photos while feedlot employee Steve Smith, who just happens to have a Facebook page, couldn't? What would stop an animal activist from saying, "Hey, I'm just doing this for my online newspaper, the Green Gazette"? And when did we start allowing journalists to be above the law just because some of them have abandoned any sense of objectivity, assuming they ever had it to begin with?

More details are sure to come, and you can watch for them at CapitalPress.com.

Forest meeting held in Anderson



Today I covered a forest planning workshop at the Gaia Hotel in Anderson, sponsored by the University of California. The all-day seminar featured Jim Arney of the Portland, Ore.-based Forest Biometrics Research Institute, who provided timber producers with tips on how to give the detailed 50- to 100-year growth and site data projections required by laws and regulations.

Arney lamented that many of the scientists who created the models on which many of these projections are based are retired, research labs have been closed because of budget cuts, and much of the data that these researchers produced is out of date. So producers have to wear the best scientists' hats and come up with the projections themselves, and many of them don't have the time or the resources.

For my complete story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Calif. strawberries going strong



California strawberry production this year is well ahead of its pace a year ago, an industry official told me today.

So far this year, growers statewide have produced 36.7 million trays compared to 32.6 million trays produced at this point last year, said Carolyn O'Donnell of the California Strawberry Commission.

For my update on the strawberry crop, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Bill to put felons in prison

It seems logical that felons would go to prison, but logic doesn't always apply in today's California. That's why the north state's Sen. Jim Nielsen has found it necessary to introduce a bill to make it happen.

From Nielsen:
With an increasing load of convicted felons in their jails, California counties have been forced to release defendants awaiting trial as well as parole violators and other offenders who have not completed their terms. The early release of these prisoners has led to a steady stream of both property and violent crimes in neighborhoods across the state.

Aimed at making the state’s realignment plan more workable for local sheriffs and police chiefs, State Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) introduced Senate Bill 708, a measure to send habitual felons directly to state prison, not county jails.

“My priority is to keep our communities safe,” said Nielsen. “Realignment is not working and is putting our families in danger by forcing the early release of habitual felons onto our streets.”

“Repeat offenders with four or more felony convictions should not go to county jail to exhaust limited resources intended for offenders with high potential for rehabilitation,” added Nielsen.

Local jurisdictions are struggling to meet the increasing demands of housing convicted felons who, before the state mandated realignment program, went to state prison.

Specifically, Senate Bill 708 provides that a defendant who is convicted of a felony and has three or more prior felony convictions belongs in state prisons. Convicted felons must know that there are penalties for breaking the law.

“The crime wave California leaders have unleashed on us demands the full attention of the Legislature and the Governor. For criminals, the lack of consequences promotes further and escalating victimization of citizens."

Senate Bill 708 is part of a package of proposals that Nielsen is introducing to change the state’s public safety realignment plan. SB 708 is expected to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, April 23, during National Victims' Rights Week.

Tax Freedom Day delayed in Calif.

The north state's representative on the Board of Equalization notes that Californians must wait a week longer than the average American for "Tax Freedom Day".

From George Runner:
Although the average American can celebrate Tax Freedom Day on April 18, Californians must wait nearly a week longer—until April 24—to join the celebration, says George Runner.

“Like it or not, Californians must work 114 days this year to pay federal, state and local taxes—that’s four more days than last year,” said Runner. “Higher taxes mean a real loss of freedom. It’s no wonder people are leaving our state.”

Tax Freedom Day, calculated annually by the Tax Foundation, is the day Americans have earned enough money to pay their annual tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels. This year’s national Tax Freedom Day arrives April 18, five days later than last year.

However, in California, Tax Freedom Day won’t arrive until April 24, four days later than last year and eight days later than two years ago. Compared to other states, California’s Tax Freedom Day is now the sixth latest in the nation, up from eleventh last year. Only Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Illinois have later dates.

“As bad as California’s rank is this year, the Legislature seems intent on making it even worse,” added Runner. “They’re churning out so many new taxes and fees it’s hard for the experts to keep up, let alone the average California taxpayer.”

Although the Tax Foundation considered the impact of Propositions 30 and 39, its calculation does not include California’s fire “fee,” lumber tax, nor the Franchise Tax Board’s recent retroactive tax hike on small business investors.

Learn more about Tax Freedom Day at www.taxfoundation.org/taxfreedomday.

CVP looking for more water

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is reportedly working with other agencies to find more water for Central Valley growers who had their allocations cut last month.

From the California Farm Bureau Federation:
Constraints including dry weather and environmental requirements have cut water deliveries to customers of the federal Central Valley Project, and CVP operators say they're looking for ways to make more water available. The CVP said this week it has been working with other water agencies and taking further steps to provide additional water. Agricultural customers of the CVP south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta saw their water supplies cut last month.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

4-H archery training to be held

From the Shasta County Farm Bureau's Facebook page:
A 4-H Archery Certification Training for volunteers and junior/teen leaders will be offered Saturday, June 1st , 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, June 2nd, 9 a.m.- 12 noon, at the Mt. Shasta City Park, Lower Lodge, 1315 Nixon Street, Mt. Shasta, CA in Siskiyou County. You must be an enrolled 4-H leader or member and attend both days to receive certification to teach archery at the project, club and camp levels. The course will include a PowerPoint lecture, review of equipment, practice shooting and teaching, and a written test. The cost is $25 per person to include a resource binder, range fees, and Saturday lunch.

DWR to begin water contract talks

The state Department of Water Resources will soon begin negotiations with water contractors on extensions and amendments to their contracts, the agency announced today.

From the DWR:
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) will begin negotiations in a public forum with State Water Project (SWP) contractors to develop contract amendments to extend the term and change certain financial provisions of their water supply contracts. The first negotiation session is scheduled for May 1, 2013. Negotiations are expected to last at least three months. An environmental review process, under the California Environmental Quality Act, will follow with opportunity for additional public participation. A final CEQA document analyzing possible environmental impacts is expected in early 2015.

Water supply contracts were negotiated and signed in the 1960’s to provide a water service to the SWP contractors in exchange for payments that provide for SWP financing, capital construction, improvements, and operations and maintenance of SWP facilities. The first of these contracts terminate in the year 2035 and the last terminates in 2042.

The contract negotiations are open to the public with the opportunity to observe each session and to provide both oral and written comments to DWR.

Negotiation Session Dates:
First negotiation session: May 1, 2013
Tentative future dates: May 15, May 29, June 12, and June 26, 2013.
(Additional meeting to be scheduled as needed.)

Location: Tsakopoulos Library Galleria
828 I Street
Sacramento, California 95814

Time: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm (estimated).

Toll free conference phone in number: 1-866-228-9900, access code: 474346#.

Meeting materials and contact information to submit comments can be found on the contract extension website at www.water.ca.gov/swpao/watercontractextension .

If you need special accommodation for these negotiation sessions, please contact Scott Jercich, Program Manager for Contract Extension, at scott.jercich@water.ca.gov or (916) 653-2810.

Valley rice 'at a crossroads'

A grower passes this along in an email regarding my story yesterday on the decline in rice acreage in California and nationwide:
With the price of rice below the cost of production the industry should be worried. If you cannot make money growing rice you will re-leveled your ground a grow other crop . Remember this valley only had rice grown it since about 1920 . This valley was all barley , wheat , sorghums , grapes ,olives we do have a choice . With the farm bill changing and no direct payments you will see more sunflowers , safflower, milo grown . If I was a rice mill in the Sacramento valley I would be concerned . As far as my neighbors are concerned , you must provide for your family if that means planting trees to survive so be it . I would not bet the farm on growing rice just for the sake of growing rice. Times have changed we have different varieties of corn , wheat , barley , beans that will grow in the valley . We are living in a new era of agriculture . So don’t believe all the propaganda out there. There are some acres just suited to rice but that is way below 550,000 acres it’s more like 200,000.

Rice is a cross roads in California !!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Klamath sucker recovery plan issued

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today issued its final revised recovery plan for Lost River and shortnose suckers in the Klamath Basin. From the agency:
Recovery plans are guidance documents required by the Endangered Species Act for all listed species. While recovery plans do not have a regulatory purpose, they are an important tool to ensure sound scientific and logistical decision making throughout the recovery process.

“The ultimate goal of the recovery program for Lost River and shortnose suckers is to implement actions that will lead to the recovery of these species so that Endangered Species Act protection is no longer necessary,” said Laurie Sada, field supervisor of the Service’s Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office. “The final revised recovery plan outlines strategies to reduce Lost River and shortnose sucker mortality, restore habitat, increase connectivity between spawning and rearing habitats, and improve water quality.”

The recovery plan states that if actions are successfully implemented, then Lost River and shortnose suckers could recover in five to seven generations, or roughly 30 to 50 years. In addition, the Service estimates that that the cost to achieve recovery is roughly $135 million.

The revised recovery plan also acknowledges and builds upon many significant recovery actions undertaken to date including: restoration of the Williamson River Delta, removal of Chiloquin Dam, screening of the A-Canal and Geary Canal intakes, and construction of the fish ladder in the Link River Dam.

While recent conservation efforts have helped to prevent the species from extinction, Lost River and shortnose sucker continue to face serious threats to their existence. Data indicate that it has been more than 10 years since a substantial amount of individuals have joined the adult population in Upper Klamath Lake for both species, meaning that as older individuals die off, juvenile suckers are not surviving long enough to replace them.

In addition, data show that as of 2010, the shoreline spawning population of Lost River sucker in Upper Klamath Lake was estimated to have declined to between 56 and 75 percent of 2002 levels. Similar patterns for Lost River suckers are becoming apparent in Clear Lake Reservoir as well. Shortnose sucker spawners that ascend the Williamson and Sprague Rivers are estimated to have declined to approximately 30 percent of 2001 levels. Populations in Gerber and Clear Lake Reservoirs appear stable, although data are very sparse.

Should sucker populations continue to decline, the revised recovery plan also calls for a controlled propagation program as a last resort to protect the species from imminent extinction. While artificial propagation programs have likely contributed to continued persistence of several related species, no controlled propagation program have been successful to achieve delisting.

The revised recovery plan also describes a number of criteria that need to be met in order for the Lost River and shortnose sucker to be downlisted to threatened status or to be de-listed altogether and no longer require ESA protections. (See attached PDF for the fact sheet for these criteria).

The recovery plan released today has undergone public comment and was submitted to a scientific peer review. While the recovery plan issued today is final, recovery plans are subject to modification as dictated by new findings, changes in species status, and completion of recovery actions.

The recovery plan is also consistent with the Service’s final critical habitat rule for the two species, which was published in 2012. The Service designated approximately 282 miles of streams, and 241,438 acres of lakes and reservoirs as critical habitat. Critical habitat is defined as areas that contain the physical and biological features that are essential for the conservation of the species.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Rice growers shrug off fluctuations



As busy as farmers are, it's great to find those who will let you come by to take photos of their operations at a moment's notice, give you all the time that you need and invite you back to see some upcoming event, such as planting or harvest. Rice grower Larry Maben of Willows definitely fits into that category, as he has been a big help to me on several rice stories over the last few years and welcomed me to his fields today to chronicle the task of leveling the ground in preparation for planting.

In the pictures, Jose Rodrigues (top) and Russel Maben (bottom two) drag fields to level them in preparation for adding a thin veneer of water to the surface, which the Mabens will do before flying over with rice seed later this month.

The photos are for a follow-up story to this Wall Street Journal piece on some farmers in the South giving up on growing rice in favor of other crops. Industry folks are telling me that some fluctuations in acreage in the South are normal, as growers rotate in and out with other commodities for a variety of reasons. That's less the case in California, where the ground that's suitable for growing rice isn't really suitable for much else. Interestingly, an official from the USA Rice Federation said she spent some time talking with the WSJ reporter and sent him some background information, and none of it was included in the story. Maybe the information didn't fit a predetermined narrative? Who knows?

Anyway, look for my story at CapitalPress.com early next week.

Labor board reform bill supported

The north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa was among Washington, D.C. lawmakers who supported a bill that would halt all decisions by the National Labor Relations Board until it has a Senate-confirmed quorum or the Supreme Court rules on the board's current appointments.

From LaMalfa:
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) today supported a measure to halt rulings made by National Labor Relations Board appointees who the Washington, D.C. Federal Court of Appeals found were unconstitutionally appointed by the Obama administration. The bill, HR 1120, was passed by the House and will now be considered in the Senate.

“The House acted today to prevent board members appointed in violation of the Constitution from ruling on cases,” said LaMalfa. “This effort to sidestep the Constitution turned a board meant as a neutral arbitrator of disputes into an unabashedly biased organization issuing anti-employer decisions in almost every instance. Entities like the NLRB must be impartial, but these illegal appointments deprived Americans across the country of their right to due process.”

The court found that the administration’s classification of the board members as “recess appointments” exempt from immediate Senate confirmation was “Constitutionally invalid”, as the Senate was in session when the appointments occurred.

Siskiyou student recognized for story

A Siskiyou County student was recognized in Sacramento recently for his submission to an agriculture-related story contest.

From the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom via Assemblyman Brian Dahle:
Wyatt Black, a Siskiyou County student, was recognized by California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom’s (CFAITC) Imagine this… Story Writing Contest. On Wednesday, March 20, Black and his teacher were honored at a ceremony at the California State Capitol in the Governor’s Council Room. Several legislative members and staff representing various districts throughout the state attended the ceremony to recognize the students for their academic achievements. The state-winning author received a medal, an e-reader, a book, a framed picture, and resources for his teacher from the Foundation.

From more than 8,000 essays written by third through eighth grade students throughout California, Black was selected for his creativity, writing skills, and positive interpretation of California agriculture industry. In his story, Trucking on a Tractor, a young boy explains the importance of plowing and tilling the soil and explores the mechanics and engineering involved in farm equipment. A sixth grader from Scott Valley Jr. High School, Black is glad that he had the opportunity to teach others about agriculture.

Hundreds of California teachers participate in this annual contest by assigning their students the task of researching an aspect of the agriculture industry, and challenging them to incorporate these facts into their own creative story. The success of this contest is bolstered by meeting state English-language arts teaching requirements, and by providing an opportunity for students to explore topics of which they previously had limited knowledge.

“We are excited to recognize these students for their writing achievements and their better understanding of the industry through the Imagine this… Story Writing Contest. We encourage the students to continue learning about the vital role agriculture plays in our daily lives,” said CFAITC executive director, Judy Culbertson.

The contest’s purpose is to promote reading, writing, and the arts while furthering the public’s understanding of agriculture. Stories are posted online at LearnAboutAg.org/imaginethis. For more information, contact Stephanie Etcheverria, Program Coordinator at 800-700-AITC.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Obama tax flip-flop shows duplicity

Here's a snippet from my upcoming story on cattle groups' opposition to new federal-land grazing fees that were included in President Obama's proposed budget.
Obama also wants the estate tax to revert in 2018 to its 2009 levels – an exemption of $3.5 million for an individual or $7 million for a married couple at a maximum tax rate of 45 percent.

This proposal comes despite Congress' approving the “fiscal cliff” deal in January, which set the estate tax permanently at 40 percent for amounts above $5.12 million.

“That's something we're very concerned about,” [Dustin] Van Liew said. “Congress recently in the agreement at the beginning of the year made the estate tax levels permanent. A few months later, the president is now saying he didn't support the agreement he signed to make them permanent and he wants to increase the levels of estate tax.

“Again, that is a problem for our industry and (ranchers') ability to pass on their operations to future generations,” he said.
With this kind of duplicity, it amazes me that any Republican elected officials would go across the street to negotiate with Obama, let alone go to dinner with him. A deal today isn't going to be a deal tomorrow, or next week or three months from now, or whenever the president decides to conveniently forget about it. He's proven he can't be trusted, so why continue to negotiate?

Beef ads travel 2 million miles



An American trade organization has been working with marketers in South Korea to put "rolling billboards" advertising U.S. beef on delivery trucks, ensuring that many residents there see the promotions while they're in traffic.

From the U.S. Meat Export Federation:
TV ads only work if you are tuned to the right channel. Billboards don’t move. Even Internet advertising is only effective if you visit a particular website. USMEF-Korea is taking a different approach: cooperating with local meat distributors in a cost-effective measure that repeatedly brings the message of quality U.S. beef and pork directly to the more than 10 million people who live in Seoul: ads on delivery trucks.

Inspired by Korea’s application of mandatory country of origin labeling for meat products, USMEF initiated the truck ad program in the summer of 2011 to give more visibility to U.S. products to both end-users as well as consumers. Since that time, USMEF has negotiated for 33 Korean delivery trucks to be wrapped with mouth-watering, full-color images of American pork and another 29 trucks with the ads for U.S. beef.

At an average of about 33,000 miles traveled per truck per year, these moving billboards cover about 2 million miles per year through business districts and neighborhoods as U.S. red meat is delivered to restaurants, butcher shops and other outlets. And while gridlocked traffic is a curse for Seoul residents, where growing road congestion has driven average driving speeds from 19.1 miles per hour in 1990 to just under 10 in 2009, it is a boon to USMEF when these rolling advertisements populate the streets.
For more, click here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nielsen, others back rural health bill

The north state's Sen. Jim Nielsen is part of a bipartisan effort to pass a bill that would aid rural hospitals, including this area's Trinity and Mayers Memorial hospitals.

From Nielsen:
Citing long term budget savings and the critical need to restore Medi-Cal cuts to keep skilled nursing facilities open in rural communities, State Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) along with hospital leaders, labor and healthcare professionals stood with Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) to push for the passage of Assembly Bill 900.

“In rural California, there are very few options other than hospital-based facilities,” said Senator Nielsen. “Small hospital emergency rooms can’t stay open. Residents have to travel long distances on windy, isolated, roads with chaotic weather challenges.”

Mayers Memorial Hospital District Chief Executive Officer, Matt Rees echoed Nielsen’s concerns, “Mayers Memorial serves our patients with the personal care that they need. Our facility is close to their families and friends who are critical in the patients’ recovery.”

If Mayers Memorial Hospital were to close, then less than 10 percent of the needs for the patient population will be met within 100 miles.

Specifically, Assembly Bill 900 reverses Medi-Cal cuts that were enacted in 2011 and more that will be implemented in the coming months. Additionally, Nielsen has authored Senate Bill 646 which would spare the most rural of hospitals from Medi-Cal cuts.

Medi-Cal beneficiaries make up nearly 80 percent of the patients receiving hospital-based skilled nursing care. These patients require specialized and medically complex care that freestanding nursing facilities and other health care providers will not or cannot accept. In the last five years, approximately 40 hospital-based skilled nursing facilities in California (about one-third) have closed due to financial pressures.

If the funding cuts are allowed to stand, hospital-based skilled nursing facilities, already decimated by low Medi-Cal reimbursement rates that don’t cover the cost of current care, will lose another 25-40 percent of their funding. This will result in the closure of facilities or drastically reduced services in rural communities.

AB 900 requires a two-thirds vote in both the State Assembly and Senate before it goes to Governor Brown for action. It will be first heard in the Assembly Health Committee on April 30. Because of its impact on the state budget, AB 900 is considered an “urgency” bill, meaning that it will take effect immediately if the Governor signs it into law by July 1.

Below is a list of hospitals in Nielsen’s Fourth Senate District that are most impacted:

Ø Biggs-Gridley Memorial Hospital
Ø Colusa Regional Medical Center SNF
Ø Mayers Memorial Hospital District
Ø Trinity Hospital

Newspaper revenue is in freefall



To give a nod to Ross Perot, that giant sucking sound you hear in the news media world is the old gatekeeper model going away. Rapidly.

Carpe Diem blogs at the American Enterprise Institute, which can also be credited for the rather jarring graph shown above:
Newspaper print advertising revenues of $18.9 billion in 2012 fell to the lowest annual level of print advertising since the NAA started tracking industry data in 1950. In 2012 dollars, advertising revenues last year were below the $19.75 billion spent in 1950, 62 years ago.

The decline in print newspaper advertising to a 62-year low is amazing by itself, but the sharp decline in recent years is pretty stunning. Print ad revenues fell by almost 50% in just the last four years, from $37 billion in 2008 to less than $19 billion last year; and by 66% over the last decade, from $56.3 billion in 2002. [...]

Even when online advertising is added to print ad revenue (see red line in chart), the combined total spending for print and online advertising last year was still only about $22.3 billion, which is the lowest amount of annual ad revenue since 1953, when $22.5 billion was spent on print advertising. The introduction of online advertising in 2003 has helped to increase total ad revenues (print + online) a little bit, but online advertising has remained flat at about $3 billion per year for the last six years, and was actually lower last year ($3.37 billion) than in 2007 ($3.5 billion in 2012 dollars).

Economic Lesson: The dramatic decline in newspaper ad revenues has to be one of the most significant Schumpeterian gales of creative destruction in recent years. And it’s not over. One recent special report from IBISWorld on “Dying Industries" identified newspaper publishing as one of ten industries that may be on the verge of extinction in the United States.
That last paragraph wasn't lost on the RS' Bruce Ross, who commented on Facebook today: "Hard to hold on to one's umbrella, but it does keep life interesting."

The people who know me know they can get me started when it comes to the reasons behind the decline of newspapers. I'm struck by the fact that in my 4 1/2 years at the Capital Press, my editor and publisher have made more substantive changes than all of my other employers in the previous 20 years combined. They've changed our approach to stories, assigned new beats to reporters, changed the format and the layout, combined our four zone editions into one edition, moved field positions around to where they're most needed and revamped the website. And a year ago they more formally changed our deadline structure to focus on a daily newsletter that goes out to our readers, giving us even more of a daily presence. And they laugh at me when I tell them I was once on a committee that took a year to decide how to change the masthead on a previous newspaper's education page.

All these changes in actions and approach have occasionally been a shock to our readers, but we're still changing -- and our company is still growing. Our management team is fully aware that in this industry, you either change or you die.

I'm amazed at how many newspapers basically haven't changed a thing in the last 10 or 15 years or longer. They have the same look, the same page layout and order, the same reporters' beats (and in some cases the same beat writers), the same ratio of wire stories, the same TV grid and comic strips, and the same condescending attitude toward the communities they cover. Their websites merely provide another platform with which to do the same things they've been doing since their heyday. In a way, you've really got to hand it to newspapers for hanging on as long as they have. Most other businesses that have been this stagnant amid such a rapidly changing world would be dead and gone already. But it's no wonder people are walking away from them in droves.

Of course, Diem's data also partly explains why so many newspapers large and small have aligned themselves so completely with our current leadership in Washington and Sacramento. Gaining an "official" status (and perhaps a taxpayer subsidy) and seeing the new-media competition get harassed and regulated out of existence may be their only means of survival.

Wine sales set another record

U.S. wine sales -- most of which come from California -- set another record last year.

From the San Francisco-based Wine Institute:
Wine sales in the U.S. from all production sources—California, other U.S. states and foreign countries—increased 2% from the previous year to a new record of 360.1 million 9-liter cases with an estimated retail value of $34.6 billion, according to wine industry consultant Jon Fredrikson of Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates in Woodside. Of the total, almost two-thirds or 207.7 million cases of California wine account for a 58% share of U.S. wine sales with an estimated retail value of $22 billion. Including exports, 2012 California wine shipments to all markets in the U.S. and abroad reached 250.2 million cases.

"The U.S. is the largest wine market in the world with 19 consecutive years of volume growth," said Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. (Bobby) Koch. "Competition for retail shelf space and consumer attention is intense, so California's high quality, record winegrape harvest in 2012 could not have come at a better time. California vintners continue to respond to growing worldwide demand with a wide array of outstanding wines from regions throughout the state and Wine Institute is supporting the effort by opening markets and eliminating trade barriers in the U.S. and abroad."

"Wine shipments to the U.S. market climbed by nearly 50% since 2001 and it is likely that American consumption will continue to expand over the next decade as wine continues to gain traction among American adult consumers" said Fredrikson. "The amazing diversity of choices and exciting new offerings are attracting new consumers and boosting consumption. Among the key growth drivers are favorable demographics, a widening consumer base and increasing points of distribution in both on- and off-sale outlets. For example, Starbucks is now serving wine in some key markets and Amazon.com and Facebook Gifts both sell wine online."
For my complete story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

LaMalfa: Spending is 'unsustainable'

The north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa on Tuesday toured the Bureau of Public Debt, where U.S. Treasury securities are auctioned off to fund the federal government’s borrowing. Afterward, he issued the following statement:
“At about four billion dollars per day, the speed at which our nation is borrowing money is simply astounding. [Yesterday] I saw government workers literally increasing the public debt as fast as possible, adding to the burden that our children and grandchildren will be forced to repay. As the President prepares to release his budget [today], a plan which never balances, today’s visit was a stark reminder that the government’s rate of spending is simply unsustainable.”

EPA admits to producer info leak

If you are a member of certain groups, the Obama administration considers you a threat and will make you a target. That's true for Christians, and it's true for farmers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is admitting that it provided sensitive personal information about producers to animal-rights groups.

Fox News reports:
The Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged Tuesday that it released personal information on potentially thousands of farmers and ranchers to environmental groups, following concerns from congressional Republicans and agriculture groups that the release could endanger their safety.

According to a document obtained by FoxNews.com, the EPA said “some of the personal information that could have been protected … was released." Though the EPA has already sent out the documents, the agency now says it has since redacted sensitive details and asked the environmental groups to “return the information.”

But Sen. John Thune, who originally complained about the release, slammed the EPA for trying to retroactively recover the sensitive data.

"It is inexcusable for the EPA to release the personal information of American families and then call for it back, knowing full well that the erroneously released information will never be fully returned," he said in a statement to FoxNews.com. "While EPA acknowledging that it erred is a first step, more must be done to protect the personal information of our farmers and ranchers now and in the future. I will continue to demand answers from the EPA on how this information was collected and why it is still being distributed to extreme environmental groups to the detriment of our farm and ranch families."
To read more, click here. And watch your back.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

'Politicization of Klamath science'

Former Bureau of Reclamation whistleblower Paul Houser isn't the only one who claims the science behind the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement has been politicized.

Our old friend Felice Pace, who I first interviewed about Klamath issues about a dozen years ago, offers this assessment of the federal government's recently unveiled final EIS:
The Final EIS/EIR does include analysis and assessment of impacts which are likely if the KHSA is implemented. With respect to the KBRA, however, we get the assessment without the corresponding analysis. That is because Interior chose to consider the KBRA programmatically. Programmatically is bureaucracy speak for deferring real analysis to what is know as the project phase, i.e. the time at which a component of the KBRA is ready to be implemented.

There are a couple of problems with Interior's programmatic approach. For one thing, many aspects of the KBRA are already being implemented by the Bureau of Reclamation and other federal agencies. Deferring analysis of actions that are already being implemented looks a lot like intentionally avoiding the analysis.

Assessing KBRA impacts in the Final EIS/EIR without the benefit of analysis means that the assessment and its conclusions are based on assumptions which may or may not correspond to reality. In numerous instances KBRA provisions are assessed as “positive” and “beneficial” without any real analysis to back up the assertions.
Needless to say, Felice comes at it from a different angle than most opponents of the KBRA, in that he doesn't think it goes far enough to protect the environment. But the seemingly growing consensus of opinion as to the science behind the project is interesting, to say the least.

UC food forum a flight of fancy

In my four-plus years as an agriculture reporter, I've generally found folks from the University of California's Division of Ag and Natural Resources to have a remarkably practical, real-world approach as far as your stereotypical "pointy-headed intellectuals" go. So it's rare to see them go off in flights of ivory-tower fancy as they seemed to this morning with their Global Food Systems Forum webcast.

The forum aimed to address how we as a society can go about sustainably feeding a projected world population of 8 billion by 2025. Their discussion panels included lots of great minds from universities around the country and even a couple of farmers. But nowhere on the program were representatives from ADM, or Monsanto, or any of the Big Four meat processing companies, or any of the other major players that currently contribute so greatly to feeding the world. And I'm sorry but whether you like them or not, any serious discussion about the future global food supply has to at least include them, if not begin with them.

The kicker, though, was this morning's keynote speaker, former Irish president Mary Robinson, founder of the Mary Robinson Foundation -- Climate Justice. The former United Nations human rights High Commissioner basically blamed corporations in the U.S. and other developed countries for global warming, and seemed to stop just short of advocating for a global redistribution of land. Never mind that scientists are now saying that global warming has "paused" -- for 20 years.

What I found interesting during my research on Robinson was what former UN ambassador John Bolton wrote about her in the Wall Street Journal at the time she was receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Bolton wrote in 2009:
Barack Obama’s decision to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson has generated unexpected but emotionally charged opposition. Appointed by then-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan as high commissioner for human rights in 1997-2002, Ms. Robinson had a controversial but ineffective tenure. (Previously, she was president of Ireland, a ceremonial position.)

Criticism of Mr. Obama’s award, to be officially bestowed tomorrow, has centered on Ms. Robinson’s central organizing role as secretary general of the 2001 “World Conference Against Racism” in Durban, South Africa. Instead of concentrating on its purported objectives, Durban was virulently anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and at least implicitly anti-American.

So vile was the conference’s draft declaration that Secretary of State Colin Powell correctly called it “a throwback to the days of ‘Zionism equals racism,’” referring to the infamous 1975 U.N. General Assembly resolution to that effect. President George W. Bush (whose father led the 1991 campaign that repealed the U.N.’s “Zionism is a form of racism” resolution) unhesitatingly agreed when Mr. Powell recommended the U.S. delegation leave the Durban conference rather than legitimize the outcome.

Ms. Robinson didn’t see it that way then, and she has shown no remorse since. In late 2002, she described Durban’s outcome as “remarkably good, including on the issues of the Middle East.”

Outrage over Durban reignited earlier this year when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did her best to get the United States to attend the successor conference (“Durban II”) to polish Mr. Obama’s “multilateralist” bona fides. Because the Durban II draft declaration reaffirmed Durban I’s hateful conclusions, even the Obama administration couldn’t swallow attending.
Great. So the UC used a largely discredited former official to promote Robin Hood-esque solutions for what is rapidly becoming a discredited climate theory (and you paid for it). Do they really think the farmers they rely on for so many of their field trials will go along with this charade?

Wildfire 'myth' labeled as 'bull'

The Congressional Western Caucus has included in its "Bull Report" efforts to give Endangered Species Act protections to a bird that purportedly thrives on devastating wildfires.

From the caucus:
Earlier this week, the San Jose Mercury News reported a story about a bird that supposedly needs wildfires to survive. The black-backed woodpecker feeds on insects that inhabit standing dead trees after a wildfire, and radical environmental groups are pushing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for protection of this bird under the Endangered Species Act. The John Muir Project of the Earth Island Institute, along with the Center for Biological Diversity, claim that this bird warrants protection because fire suppression, salvage logging, and forest thinning to reduce the intensity of wildfires harms the habitat of the black-backed woodpecker. In 2010, the John Muir Project released a report entitled “The Myth of ‘Catastrophic’ Wildfire,” which attempted to convince the public that wildfires are not, in fact, a danger to us. Chad Hanson, a staff ecologist at the John Muir Project, even said that he hopes the Forest Service will be proactive about “educating people that when fire happens, it is not a bad thing.”

Fire is not a bad thing? Nearly 10 million acres across the United States were devastated by wildfires last year, causing almost 2,200 residences to burn to the ground. Twelve brave men and women lost their lives fighting these fires across the nation. And there are groups out there claiming that the “notions of catastrophic wildfire are really just politics and ignorance, and reflect outdated thinking”? The Congressional Western Caucus wholeheartedly disagrees with the belief that wildfires are a positive force that we should allow to torch the West. We should not celebrate destroyed ecosystems, or budget cuts that will force the Forest Service to let more fires burn. Instead, we should be practicing responsible forest management policies that help protect our national forests and families. Catastrophic wildfires are not a myth, they are a horrific reality that should not be taken lightly.
To wear my conspiracy theorist hat for a moment, what better way to depopulate rural America than to burn it up, right?

Monday, April 8, 2013

LaMalfa opines on budget, economy



I've been out of town in the last few days and am just catching up. In the meantime, Rep. Doug LaMalfa has sent out another newsletter outlining positions and updates on various issues. Here it is:
Visit to Chico and Redding Area Schools
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit the Emma Wilson School, Pacheco School, and the Monarch Learning Center to talk with students about the Constitution, answer their questions, and deliver donated books from the Library of Congress. Approximately 20,000 items are donated to the Library of Congress each day, and those not added to the permanent collection are released to be donated to schools around the nation. I greatly enjoyed catching up with our students, especially having attended local schools myself. It was a very rewarding opportunity to be able to answer their questions about the Library of Congress, the Lincoln Memorial, and the interworking of Congress. I was impressed with their knowledge of current issues and our government system. I also had the opportunity to meet with a group of American Government students at Chico State University. We discussed my experiences as a new member of the United States House of Representatives and issues that affect our area. I happen to know firsthand that Chico State graduates are top-notch, as several of my staff attended the University. The students I met with exemplified their readiness to make a difference and I think California will be better for it.

Passing a Budget
I voted in support of the House Republican budget plan, which balances the federal budget within the next ten years. The Ryan Budget saves billions by eliminating spending caused by Obamacare, reducing bureaucracy, and protecting defense funding. By voting for this bill, we took action to move our country toward responsible, long term budgeting with a plan that actually balances. It is simply irresponsible to continue piling up debt that will inevitably burden future generations. Despite raising taxes by $1 trillion, the Senate Democrat budget never balances. Here is a short video of my reaction to the House budget.

The House also passed H.R. 933, known as the Continuing Resolution, which funds government operations through the end of the year while reducing spending by $85 billion dollars and protecting defense funding from automatic cuts.The continuing resolution makes smart reductions in spending, prevents new spending for Obamacare, maintains a strong military and ensures the government continues to provide essential services.

H.R. 1038, the Public Power Risk Management Act
My first bill as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives passed out of the Agriculture Committee. H.R. 1038, the "Public Power Risk Engagement Act of 2013," preserves the ability of public power utilities to purchase energy for future needs at cost-effective rates. The measure passed with unanimous support and is cosponsored by bipartisan lawmakers from across the nation. At a tough financial time for our country, the last thing we need is for electrical bills to go up. My bill moves forward to protect 49 million Americans from rate increases that would otherwise be caused by red tape and over-regulation. Northern California communities that could benefit from this bill include Redding, Biggs, Shasta Lake, Susanville, Roseville, Sacramento, and others.

The SKILLS Act
I voted in support of the SKILLS Act, H.R. 803, which streamlines federal workforce development training programs, increases local control and improves accountability for programs receiving federal funding. The bill fulfills a call by President Obama's State of the union Address to improve the nation's workforce program. This legislation willserve to help millions of under or unemployed Americans to receive training and strengthen accountability. H.R. 803 streamlines and consolidates 35 programs, including 26 identified by the Government Accountability Office as duplicative or ineffective. Furthermore, it gives local workforce investment boards the ability to contract directly with community colleges to increase the availability of training and eliminates 19 federal requirements that tie that hands of decision making by local boards.

Senator Rand Paul's Stand for Constitution and Due Process
Senator Rand Paul spoke for the millions of Americans concerned about individual liberty and government overreach. It was an honor to join a number of House Republicans on the Senate floor to lend moral support to his efforts in protesting the Obama administration's initial refusal to admit that it lacked legal authority to use drone strikes against Americans on American soil. The Commander in Chief does, of course, have the power to protect Americans from imminent attack, however, it is unconstitutional to kill a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil who does not pose an imminent threat. This debate is largely symbolic of the larger debate over the role and scope of our government. I am proud to stand with Rand in defense of liberty, due process, and the Constitution.
LaMalfa also made the following statement after Friday's jobs report, which found that just 88,000 new jobs were created and 500,000 Americans left the workforce, bringing workforce participation to its lowest rate since 1979.
“Today’s jobs report makes it even more clear that big government and a ‘Washington knows best’ attitude will never spur the robust growth that our nation’s economy needs.

“House Republicans are working to cut red tape and create more forestry jobs in rural communities, lower energy costs and roll back health care taxes. We’ve passed bills streamlining job training programs to modernize our workforce and keep us competitive. I’m cosponsoring legislation to ensure that job-killing regulations, thousands of pages of which have been released just this year, need congressional approval before they go into effect.

“We’re taking action to get the economy back on track, not simply giving it lip service.

“Instead of simply talking about job creation, this administration needs to examine its policies and recognize that higher energy prices, increasing health care costs and rising taxes are slowing growth and stunting economic recovery.”
In the photos, the congressman is seen delivering books to students at the Emma Wilson School in Chico and touring the Air Spray Aviation Services USA plant, also in Chico.

No one has asked me yet, but the reason I post these things in their raw form without comment is to educate the public about what the congressman is up to. Like him or not, he is this area's elected representative in Congress, and frankly some media outlets have chosen to ignore him unless they can find some controversy to exploit. Heaven knows we're inundated with daily news reports about the activities of our president, whoever he happens to be at the moment. So I make it a point to offer regular updates on what our congressman says and does.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Report: California faces flood risk

Millions of people and billions of dollars in property are at risk for flooding in California, according to a joint report from the state Department of Water Resources and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued today.

From the DWR:
Reducing California’s future flood risk will require unprecedented cooperation and alignment among public agencies and a commitment to developing stable funding mechanisms, according to a draft report released today by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

California’s Flood Future: Recommendations for Managing California’s Flood Risk reports that $580 billion in assets are exposed to flood risk throughout the state, and 7 million Californians live in a floodplain. The report includes seven strategic recommendations intended to inform local, state, and federal decisions about flood management policies and financial investments.

“Even with a history of continuing investment and action by local, state and federal flood management agencies, many regions in California face significant exposure to flood risk,” said Department of Water Resources (DWR) program manager Terri Wegener. “With millions of people, valuable farmland and major infrastructure at risk, the impact from a major flood in California would be devastating here, and to the nation.”

Wegener noted that the country’s major flood events in the past few years demonstrate the wisdom of planning ahead.

“It is much smarter and more cost effective to reduce flood risk now than to spend billions of dollars trying to recover from a major flood,” she said.

California’s Flood Future contains a comprehensive look at flooding throughout the state, along with challenges and recommendations for improving flood management. With state snowpack levels currently at low levels, the report is an important reminder about California’s variable weather extremes and a caution to look at flood management from an integrated perspective.

“It's critical to have the kind of detailed understanding that California's Flood Future gives us of where the risks are greatest and how they're connected,” said Kim Carsell, the Corps' lead planner for the report. “This research provides us with a level of specificity that we've never had before. For example, it shows the impacts to major areas of concern like critical facilities and agriculture, as well as the specific impacts to local communities.”
For more on the report, including proposed solutions, click here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

FB leader: Overhaul the tax code

As the April 15 deadline for filing tax forms draws near, the Texas cattle and rice producer who leads the American Farm Bureau Federation is calling for an overhaul of the tax code.

Bob Stallman writes (via the California Farm Bureau Federation's Ag Alert):
It's that time of year again—tax time.

Boston threw a tea party to protest it; Shakespeare and Mark Twain have prattled off quotes about it; the Beatles even dedicated a song to it. Nothing brings people together more than rallying against a tax.

While taxes are necessary for a functioning government and society—where would we be without public schools, roads and firemen or police officers?—if not reined in, they can become too much for American families and businesses.

Taxes should never impede job creation, higher wages and economic investment. But, unfortunately, complex and unjust tax laws have been doing just that. To get the country back on track, Congress is working to reform the tax code and congressional leaders say that nothing is off the table, which is good news for farmers and ranchers.

Farm Bureau supports an overhaul of the current federal income tax system. The new tax code should encourage, not penalize, success and promote savings, investment and entrepreneurship. Importantly, it should be fair to farmers and ranchers and other owners of other family businesses and small businesses. The tax system should be transparent and simple for Americans to understand.
For his entire op-ed, click here.

Wildfire Prevention Act reintroduced

Cattle and grazing groups are backing the bipartisan Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act, which was just reintroduced in Congress. The bill would expedite the process to reduce hazardous fuel loads on federal lands through livestock grazing and timber harvesting.

From the National Cattlemen's Beef Association:
The bill proposes to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire on areas managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) identified as high-risk. It would streamline analyses performed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in those areas, expediting fuels-reduction activities such as livestock grazing and timber thinning. When threatened or endangered species are at risk, it would also allow for hazardous fuels-reduction projects to go forward under existing emergency provisions of the Endangered Species Act. Furthermore, it adds to last year’s legislation by including contract stewardship and good neighbor authority measures, which facilitate the completion of forest management projects through public-private partnerships and cooperation with state governments.

PLC President Brice Lee and NCBA President Scott George agreed that the bill addresses the significant issue of catastrophic wildfire in the West by reducing administrative delays, expediting forest management processes, and encouraging better forest health and economic development.

“Last year, more than 9 million acres were burned in one of the worst fire seasons this country has seen in the last few decades. In that scenario, everyone bears the burden of habitat loss — ranchers, western communities, wildlife and the taxpayer, to name a few,” Lee said. “We hope that Congress acts swiftly and moves forward with passing this legislation, so that ranchers and entire communities do not remain vulnerable during what may be another devastating fire season this year.”

George added that fires threaten both rural and urban communities and impair the watersheds the public depends on.

“The red tape beleaguering USFS and the BLM when addressing wildfires is endangering the lives and operations of livestock producers, threatening the natural resources the public depends on, and hindering economic growth,” said George. “This bill seeks to put an end to these issues and allow for better management of public lands.”

Arizona rancher and ACGA President Andy Groseta spoke to the grassroots process that brought about this critical need for a streamlined agency process.

“In 2011, ACGA members developed the Save Arizona’s Forest Environment plan that gained support from dozens of cities, town, counties and other organizations locally and nationally. The residents of rural America recognize the need to return our forests back to true working landscapes governed by responsible multiple-use management,” he said. “The Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act of 2013 is a commonsense way to accomplish that and to prevent wildfires from destroying public and private lands across the West.”
Among the bill's cosponsors is Northern California Rep. Tom McClintock and Southern Oregon Rep. Greg Walden.

Round-Up to lead fairgrounds events

The 91st Red Bluff Round-Up rodeo April 19-21 highlights this month's events at the Tehama District Fair grounds. Here is the schedule of events, courtesy of the fair office.
April 3, 10, 17, & 24 Connections Fellowship 6:00 p.m. Cafeteria
736.1124

April 5,6, & 7 Backcountry Horsemen
Various times Pauline Davis Pavilion/Bull
Sale Arena
527.8907

April 6 Boer Goat Show 8:00 a.m. Junior Show Ring
916.875.5344

April 6 Ride for Life 9:00 a.m. Main Grandstand Arena
529.9679

April 9 Tehama District Fair Board Meeting 1:00 p.m. Tehama Room

April 13 California Houndsmen for Conservation 5:00 p.m. Tyler Jelly Building
692.9515

April 19, 20 & 21 91sr Annual Red Bluff Round-Up Fri
Sat
Sun
7:00 p.m.
2:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m.
Outdoor Arena
527.1000

April 27, 28, 29, &
30
Buck Brannaman Clinic 9:00 a.m. Pauline Davis Pavilion
680.6924

April 28 4-H Livestock Judging Day 9:00 a.m. Ron Knight Youth Ag
Center/Livestock Barn
527.3101

ALL EVENTS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE
For further information call the fair office at 530 527.5920
www.tehamadistrictfair.com
2013 FAIR: SEPTEMBER 26, 27, 28, & 29

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ex-official: America already dead

The former budget director for President Ronald Reagan has a dire outlook on America's future -- economic and otherwise.

Mark Steyn reports in the Corner at National Review Online:
I like to think I can hold my own in the apocalyptic doom-mongering department, but this guy leaves me in the dust: Reagan budget director David Stockman, writing in [Sunday's] New York Times. First, the numbers:
Since the S.&P. 500 first reached its current level, in March 2000, the mad money printers at the Federal Reserve have expanded their balance sheet sixfold (to $3.2 trillion from $500 billion). Yet during that stretch, economic output has grown by an average of 1.7 percent a year (the slowest since the Civil War); real business investment has crawled forward at only 0.8 percent per year; and the payroll job count has crept up at a negligible 0.1 percent annually. Real median family income growth has dropped 8 percent, and the number of full-time middle class jobs, 6 percent. The real net worth of the “bottom” 90 percent has dropped by one-fourth. The number of food stamp and disability aid recipients has more than doubled, to 59 million, about one in five Americans.
Then, what it all adds up to:
These policies have brought America to an end-stage metastasis. The way out would be so radical it can’t happen. It would necessitate a sweeping divorce of the state and the market economy. It would require a renunciation of crony capitalism and its first cousin: Keynesian economics in all its forms. The state would need to get out of the business of imperial hubris, economic uplift and social insurance and shift its focus to managing and financing an effective, affordable, means-tested safety net…

The United States is broke — fiscally, morally, intellectually — and the Fed has incited a global currency war (Japan just signed up, the Brazilians and Chinese are angry, and the German-dominated euro zone is crumbling) that will soon overwhelm it. When the latest bubble pops, there will be nothing to stop the collapse.
It’s a message for an anti-Easter: America and much of the rest of the west appear still to be living, but are already dead – walking around, shopping and spending, while underneath every vital organ has ceased to function.
It sort of reminds me of the classic Danny DeVito speech in "Other People's Money", which I once only half-jokingly invoked during a planning meeting with a former employer. "We're dead, all right," he said. "We're just not broke."

Oh, but you keep reading those made-to-order front-page stories about our "recovery". Nothing to see here.