Saturday, July 31, 2010

I am breaking my vow to never talk about my day job.

Quite honestly, driving a bus is usually pretty boring, but occasionally you
get surprised. Today was one of those times.

Last night I reported to the bus yard at 2145 or 9:45 pm for a 3 bus move- a
charter. We ended up heading up to the Adelanto/Victorville area- to the old
George Air Force Base now a logistics airport where we waited about 5 hours
or so for the planes to arrive with our passengers, soldiers in the United States
Army needing a ride to the Ft Irwin army base.

I must say these were really nice young people, very courteous and hard working,
and about the quietest passengers I have ever carried on my bus in 4 years of
driving. I was proud to drive them up. They all had their weapons with them, unloaded,
and I must also say I felt like the safest bus driver, no worries at all with that kind of
firepower available.

However, on the ride to and from the fort on Ft. Irwin Rd I saw many, many roadside
white crosses planted in the roadside with dates on each cross, symbolizing someone
losing their life in car accidents on that road. What a lonely place to die. There were
at least 18 crosses just on one side of the road, the side going back to the freeway.
I didn’t count the ones on the side going to the fort.

To the army’s credit, the base has pulled out all stops for safety- with signs saying how
many accidents so far this year(no fatalities) and signs proclaiming it to be a dui free zone.
By the main guard entrance, they had a vehicle there all wrecked with a sign saying
an infant had died and someone was paralyzed as well in the crash, I believe the year before. If only the state and localities would put up more signs, it might help cut down the
carnage on the roads.

I talked with a couple of the soldiers off the bus when we got there and told them about
my close call with the errant target shooters last week, they told me if it was a 223 round
like someone told me, it was a good thing that it missed. I guess I may have used up
one of my 9 lives.

All in all, it was a great day. I must say I am exhausted, having not slept at all last night.

I would like to leave you and them with this fervent wish. I hope and pray that they don’t
have shots fired at them in anger, but I know the odds are not good for some of them.
I just wish we weren’t involved overseas in a war that I fear will end a lot of these young
lives, before they even have a chance to experience that life. 


Friday, July 30, 2010

Here is a video from my hike yesterday at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve- note- thank God for this cottonwood or I might not have made it.

This video was shot several minutes after I made it to this shade tree on the canyon trail.
My previous rest stop was a few minutes earlier, where I sat down under a desert creosote
if my memory is correct, at this point, I was extremely tired and over-heated, and really
beginning to think I might have to wait several hours till the sun went behind the canyon walls and it would cool down. Of course, by then, I would be out of water and in real danger.

However, a fifteen minute or so break, combined with the knowledge that I was only a mile
or so from the Morongomobile, gave me heart and a new determination to continue.

By the way, at the rest break right before this one, when I was really beat, a vulture flying
overhead judging by the large shadow, got me motivated enough to get up and shakily venture on.

Going back to this cottonwood tree, this is the one with the three rocks like footstools
underneath in the shade of those wonderful branches. When I passed it on my way down,
it did occur to me that I would really welcome the sight of it on my way back up the trail.
bigmorongocanyonhike 021

A trick to remember for those of you planning on doing a day hike in the desert or other wild
places. When you are on your return leg of the hike, sometimes when you are tired there
is a tendency among some to almost be overwhelmed by the journey back. I always break
the return trip down into little segments, small tasks to be completed, that add up to a
completed hike. For example, yesterday, okay I see the dead, giant cottonwood there that I got out of the sun last week by standing behind it, I’ll make it to there. Once I made it there,
okay let me make it to that bend in the trail about 200 yards away, etc, etc. It all adds up,
creates a sense of accomplishment and helps keep the fears away, that you might not make it.

As Inspector Callahan once said to Lt. Briggs,”a man has to know his limitations.” I learned that lesson on the canyon trail yesterday when I was walking the two miles uphill. I am just
not in good enough shape to hike in 100 + degree, full sun conditions. So the next hike for
me will probably be on the mountaintop via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, where if it
is 110 below, it is about 80 degrees up there. I am looking forward to it.

I will be putting together another trip report for this second hike at the Preserve, however it
may not be ready until my next days off. Tonight, believe it or not, I go in at 2145 that’s 9:45
at night, and work overnight until 0600 or 6 in the morning. First and hopefully the last time that I have to do it.

Enjoy the video, I hope this new video host service works out.



Insight into the thought processes of the “giant solar site” developers and the minions who enable them.

Think cheap land. Think cheap BLM land. Think cheap federal land with the taxpayers
and the deserts assuming all the costs and all the risks. You know, I have thought all
along that some of these so called “renewable energy firms” are literally in the position
of not even having two nickels to rub together and the only way they can survive, now
that the bottom has dropped out of the credit and capital markets, is through the largess
of the taxpayers, in the form of their elected officials and the unelected but never ending

And since these same politicians are only interested in re-election and/or moving into the
highly paid lobbying world(and some of the pencil pushers as well), they all want to go with the flow, so to speak.

Oh they make a great deal about the “public’s voice being heard” and about “public comment periods” and other such pablum for the masses, but never doubt, that the decision has come down from on high, and that decision is going to be implemented, come
hell or high water, and it doesn’t matter one bit what the public thinks or what damage
ensues to the environment. They just don’t care, get it? Here’s the proof taken directly from the source:

The Energy Commission staff believes that the direct project impacts to
biological resource, and soil and water resources, and visual resources, and
the cumulative impacts associated with biological resources, land use, soil
and water resources, and visual resources for the Imperial Valley Solar
(IVS) Project will be significant. There is no feasible mitigation that
would reduce the impacts to a level that is less than significant given the
scale of the project, and other projects that were cumulatively considered.
In addition, staff has concluded that the project will not be able to comply
with Imperial County several laws, ordinances, regulations and standards,
also referred to as "LORS." Finally, staff recognizes that due to a lack of
information regarding the long-term performance of this new technology, it
is uncertain whether the applicant's claims regarding reliability will be
Notwithstanding the unmitigable impacts, consideration needs to be given to
the fact that the project is a solar power plant that will help California
meet its renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of 33 percent in 2020 and AB 32
greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. As such, it will provide critical
environmental benefits by helping the state reduce its greenhouse gas
emissions, and these positive attributes must be weighed against the
project's adverse impacts. It is because of these benefits and the concerns
regarding the adverse impacts that global warming will have upon the state
and our environment, including desert ecosystems, that staff believes it
would be appropriate for the Commission to approve the project based on a
finding of overriding considerations, consistent with CEQA Guideline Section
15093, if the Commission adopts staff's proposed mitigation
measures/conditions of certification. “

You can’t make this stuff up folks. Who else but a bunch of pointy headed, pencil packing
geeks writes like that? Now allow me, your host Morongobill, to interpret the
dense prose above.

They admit that the project will destroy everything that makes this area what it is. It will
take out the plants and animals, regardless of the so called “mitigation.” The soil will
be destroyed, bladed over and hauled away, the water table will be drawn down by
all the water used, cultural artifacts gone, way of life for the residents gone, vistas gone
forever. Basically everything that made it what it is, scraped away by the earth

They acknowledge that this is unproven technology, hell, unproven, go to Maricopa
County, Arizona, where they have a test site, they need so many mechanics to
keep the God-damned Stirling dishes going that they are making a dent in the unemployment numbers! Imagine this, if you can, bulldozing the Yosemite Valley
or Yellowstone, to put in unproven, half-assed technology that probably won’t
work- you think people would stand by for that? Well, believe it or not, some people feel that way about some of these areas targeted for the bulldozer. In my
case, as you may or may not know, it’s Ivanpah.

But here’s the absolute bottom line- these jackasses are going to do whatever
they want and when they want it, no matter what we think.

The operative sentence below:

It is because of these benefits and the concerns
regarding the adverse impacts that global warming will have upon the state
and our environment, including desert ecosystems, that staff believes it
would be appropriate for the Commission to approve the project based on a
finding of overriding considerations, consistent with CEQA Guideline Section
15093, if the Commission adopts staff's proposed mitigation
measures/conditions of certification.”

Oh but wait, it gets better. As I have said before, certain members of certain environmental
activist groups, members in leadership positions, have somehow gotten into bed with the
corporate interests and because of “global warming concerns” have signed off on these
projects. By doing so, they provide valuable political cover for the politicians, bureaucrats, renewable energy firms, and investment banks and others, such as
the myriad lobbying and legal firms that are interested in sucking on the hind tit
of the taxpayers, in the form of the federal stimulus funded loan guarantees! A list
of these can be found in a previous post by this blogger where I named names and
provided proof in the form of internet visitor logs, showing their repeated visits to
my site. Morongobill, enemy of the state, public enemy number one! And the
scourge of BrightSource Energy Ivanpah Solar.

Here is an article I found this morning. This is from the trade group that represents the
concentrated solar producers, translation, the BrightSource’s, the Tessera’s, etc. Let me
point out, the piece ostensibly was to discuss the various land sources available for
their giant projects, but I only see one potential land owner listed- the BLM or you and I.

Here is the link to the post where I showed the actual internet visitor logs, some very big
names there in the energy and lobbying fields, trust me.

You know, the plan today was to write a post about my return visit to the Big Morongo
Canyon Preserve yesterday, I made another hike down the canyon trail, almost didn’t
make it back up to my car in the heat, and did some thinking while sitting under the shade
of those cottonwood trees. Thinking about just how wonderful the area was, how unspoiled,
and what it would look like say if there were wind turbines on the ridgetops along the
canyon. It just wouldn’t be the same.

These wild places are special. Despite man’s best efforts, they have succeeded in surviving to this day. A little worse for wear in some places, hardly touched in others.
Nature has a way of reclaiming the land over time. But an assault of this magnitude,
in so many different locations of the desert, simultaneous assaults involving wholesale
destruction of the ground surface, animal and plant habitats, and to the supply
of underground fossil groundwater, will inexorably lead to the end of the deserts as we now know them. Industrialization of the area and further habitat destruction
are and will be the “intended consequences” of our policy makers’ actions.

And folks, you know what really hurts is the fact that they plan, in most cases, to keep the
plants running for 40 or 50 years only, and to just close them down and leave the scarred
land which will not recover for thousands of years, if ever. Sorry, I forgot they plan to “mitigate or restore” the sites, hee hee. Yeah, I really believe that.

Is this a wonderful country or what?



Now here's a great example of micro-power generation, plus major rant!

On July 27, 2010, the City of Corona, California unveiled the first grid connected solar powered bus shelter in the nation.The system generates a little over a kilowatt of AC POWER, with the excess unused power
being put into the local power grid. The system was designed , sold, and installed by a local company, Solade Concepts, using products from Go Green Solar out of Los Angeles.

It was pointed out that the power generated will help offset the electrical costs of the city's traffic signals. To pay for it, the system should qualify for the federal tax rebates for renewable energy and possibly rebates from the power company.

This is really a fantastic idea folks. There must be hundreds of thousands of bus shelters in the state of California. Why hasn't somebody jumped on this already. Here we have all these renewable energy firms
staking claims all over the desert to build these hugely expensive boondoggles hundreds of miles from their power customers, an absolute waste of taxpayer money, a project even an investment banker wouldn't touch, if it wasn't for the saps putting up the dough and taking all the risks, and here we
have existing bus shelters, all right near the grid, just ready to be hooked up with these micro power systems, and ready to start generating power and profits!
To me, it's a no-brainer.

Take an existing cash draining, depreciating asset of which you have hundreds of thousands. Get your highly paid government bureaucrats, thousands available and all sweating a load wondering when the budget cutting ax is going to drop, harness that desire to save their bacon in anyway possible, with this idea, add the utility cash back rebates and the 30% federal tax credit, and you got a prescription for megawatts of local AC power going directly into the grid. Heh, since the feds are willing to piss away all that money down a mojave ground squirrel hole hundreds of miles away, why not get a few of those OBAMA BUCKS and put them to really productive use in a way that sure looks profitable to this wizened old blogger.

Why stop here in California? There literally must be millions of bus shelters all the country that could benefit from this technology. Think of all the local jobs generated for installation and subsequent maintenance.
 Think of all the dollars going into the coffers of local small businesses. You know the ones the political hacks cry a river over, while behind their backs, they're sending the contracts to the giant big money firms with the high dollar lobbyists. Those small businesses, the ones that are literally drying up and dying right in front of our tired and jaded eyes.

 This is truly a great idea. So great that perhaps even the hacks and bureaucrats can't screw it up.


Warning- major rant coming.

 This post was made using Google Blogger software online. It is java based.
This is not how I intended this post to look or to be laid out. This software is absolutely the buggiest, piece of crap software that I have ever used in 25+ years computing. What garbage! I decided to use it, hell I don't know what came over me, this is the last time I'll use it. Google is an okay blog host but their software sets new records daily for being some of the worst on the planet. If you don't believe me, ask some of the Google Earth users out there, how often their software has totally disappeared completely from their systems, with no notice, like it never was installed on their systems.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Satellite view of my old house in the desert … and a true story!

Street address edited out with a free program,, to throw
off the paparazzi looking for Morongobill.

Here is a photo of the house followed by the satellite view from Google Earth.
archivecd8 027

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 28 19.49

I remember when the first winter was coming on that I spent in Morongo Valley.
With two woodstoves in the house, a priority was to buy firewood. So I looked
in the local paper for suppliers, called up, and bought a half a cord of wood.
We agreed on a price and they said leave a check out under the front door mat
and I said leave the wood stacked by the front wall of the house under the eaves.
Sure, no problem.

When I came home that night the first thing I saw was wood, a huge pile, dumped out
about 20 feet from the house, near that giant rock in the dirt. It took about an hour of
bent over lifting and carrying to stack all that wood by the front of the house, cursing
with every load until I ran out of energy to curse.

My back was jacked up for days.

After that, I never presumed to tell a local tradesman how to do their job.



I have f-----g had it with our “so called” leaders! They are determined to pave over the Mojave, whether we like it or not.

What a bunch of self righteous, ass kissing, sons of bitches. What a bunch
of lying, deceitful hypocrites. Those sentiments expressed are from the point
of view of the governed, and the taxpayer. You know the sap who ends up
paying for everything in the end.

What has got the Morongobill so stirred up, you might ask. Why don’t you surf
to a backporch favorite, Coyote Crossing, and read this article just posted today
and hot off the press so to speak.

I won’t repeat all the news here, but I will say this.

The administrations in D.C. and Sacramento are determined to ram these
projects through, at any costs, and they don’t give a damn if they have to
exterminate every mojave ground squirrel, bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, or
any rare or endangered plant species- standing in their way.
solarone 007 

All to help them meet some arbitrary time limit, one which could be postponed
if there was a will to do it.

If you think I’m over-reacting, go read the article.



Sunday, July 25, 2010

The cottonwood tree on the canyon trail- a video from 07/22/2010.

From my trip report:

There was a moment yesterday, when it was truly sublime, that’s the only way to describe it. My location was around mile 2 or so, it had really heated up to around 100 degrees
with no wind and then I walked up to this wonderful shade tree in the canyon, the cooling wind whistled up, I had some of my few remaining ounces of water, at this moment, I could
have died then and felt like I couldn’t find a better place to do it….


Okay, maybe a little dramatic in hindsight, but that shade tree was about the most welcoming sight I can recall in recent memory. Especially coming up on it when
I did.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Trip report:Big Morongo Canyon Preserve 07/22/2010, video page to come later.

When I woke up this morning, I knew it would be a special day- I just didn’t know to what
degree. After doing laundry first thing, I decided that’s it, I’m getting out of the big city.
So I went home, picked up my canteen fanny pack belt, my trusty digicam and my new
Morongobill desert rat hat, gassed up the Morongomobile, and took off.

The plan was to get to the desert and then make a decision what to do, based primarily
on the temperature. 100 degrees+ head to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, 90 degrees
or so, head up to the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. Well, it was 91 at the I-10 rest stop
and up to Morongo Valley I went, via Hwy#62.

I had already stopped at Fresh-N-Easy in Buena Park where instead of buying 2- 1 liter
bottles at 79 cents a piece, I got 3 16.9 ounce bottles for 99 cents, because I am cheap,
don’t forget this, it will be important later. Once in Morongo Valley, I made a stop at the little
Morongo Valley market next to the post office, where I got vanilla cream soda and a bag
of yogurt covered peanuts. Remember that also.

I then drove over to the preserve where I had a great conversation with a gentleman named
Randy Partlow, about my age, who gave me some real good information about the trails
and some good advice about not drinking the cream soda. Unfortunately I had already
opened it, he was kind enough to take this photo of me and I took one of him as well.
bigmorongocanyonhike 001

Morongobill above, Randy’s in the next photo below. I really like the hiking staff he had. 

After talking for a few minutes, we shook hands and I told him to check the blog out
as I’d be writing about this hike. Folks, let me just say that “in the country” people
are usually really generous, sharing their knowledge and their time. I was really
pleased to meet Randy and talk with him!bigmorongocanyonhike 002

Well off I went, along the trail, I came across a huge dead tree with a sign saying it was
a “BEE TREE, DO NOT DISTURB.” Trust me I didn’t do anything to bother those bees,
it is a fact that now in the desert, there is a problem with the africanized honey bees.
My policy is, I assume every bee in the desert is one of those aggressive bees and I
give them lots of room.

I also passed a group of children from a daycare center, out in the preserve, maybe for
a nature tour or something, that’s great for them to learn, but watch out when you see
signs like this one which was near them.
bigmorongocanyonhike 009

Kind of gives you something to think about, doesn’t it?

Well I continued down the trail a ways. Here are some shots.
bigmorongocanyonhike 010

This really is a lovely area.
bigmorongocanyonhike 015

Then I came across this monstrosity in Paradise.
bigmorongocanyonhike 017

Of course it would be virtually impossible to remove the old car now, I wonder if it was carried down the wash
decades ago in a flash flood.
bigmorongocanyonhike 019

A little farther down from here I came across a pool of stagnant water which was just
teeming with life. It looked like their were crawdads in it, the butterflies were flying
around everywhere, lots of little flies buzzing around, birds calling, etc. Here is a video
of this little pool.

One thing I noticed after seeing the signs that said “stay on the trail, ticks” was how
overgrown the trail had become. Many, many times I had to climb under brush or push it
aside, plenty of chances for ticks to climb aboard. Luckily for me, I may have escaped
their clutches, maybe it was too hot for them. Although, they might be hunkered down
and will make their presence known later. One thing Randy told me was he saw two
deer on the trail that morning, deer+ticks=Lyme’s disease so I was concerned.
bigmorongocanyonhike 029

Above and below photos show what I was just talking about regarding trail conditions.
bigmorongocanyonhike 030

This trail follows a gas pipeline down through the canyon, about four and a half miles,
grown over at times, and sometimes disappears altogether, then it’s wise to just follow
the pipeline signs and markers, and you’ll run into the trail again. Most of the way the
canyon is not that wide, steep bone dry hillsides looking down on a narrow green band,
sometimes like a grassy meadow, others wildly overgrown, where water nears the
surface. I looked in vain for the rushing water I saw on my previous visit, I guess it dried
up in the summer inferno that exists here on a daily basis in the summer.

My understanding of the canyon geology is that the underground aquifer running down from the mountains hits lifted up rock formations forcing the water to the surface, forming
this oasis in the desert.

Folks I took about 30 pictures and filmed 21 videos with my Canon digicam. When my memory card filled up at mile marker 3.5 I went to my cell phone and took a few more
photos and made some voice recordings. It was a very interesting hike. I made a comment
on one of the videos that I had plenty of spring in my steps, my legs and feet felt good-
then about a mile and a half later, I could barely walk.

After around mile 2 or so + or –, the trail turns into a wash in a lot of places. Boy, when it rains in this area, there must be some real water rushing down through here. Those areas with all the rocks and sand, etc are what caused my legs and feet to start giving out, heck
today I can barely walk. But I wouldn’t take anything back, except for the rifle bullet flying
past my head at the end of the hike yesterday. Not a thing.

There was a moment yesterday, when it was truly sublime, that’s the only way to describe it. My location was around mile 2 or so, it had really heated up to around 100 degrees
with no wind and then I walked up to this wonderful shade tree in the canyon, the cooling wind whistled up, I had some of my few remaining ounces of water, at this moment, I could
have died then and felt like I couldn’t find a better place to do it….
 bigmorongocanyonhike 035

After resting a few minutes I moved on, continuing down the grade through the canyon.
bigmorongocanyonhike 036

Looking straight ahead at the the area down there where the canyon walls appear to come together, you can see Mt San Jacinto rising up in the distance, a sight which gave me
heart to continue on, as by now I was becoming a little hobbled.

Here are some observations. The preserve is in need of brush clearing along the trail in
many, many places. I made a video where I showed how much dry plant material was
near ground level, one lightning strike at the right location and this canyon will become
an inferno. Make a call for volunteers, I am available on wednesdays and thursdays,hint

As usual, the Morongobill ventured out without any planning, on the fly so to speak, and being cheap, saving money, took too little water, and only averted catastrophe by making
the decision to hike all the way down and hitch-hike back. Luckily I got picked up right away
as I had too little water, energy, or strength left to walk up the Morongo grade on Hwy #62
or to turn around and retrace my steps back up the canyon trail.

But this was just a fantastic experience overall. As a matter of fact, next time I do it, I’ll time
my arrival for the opening of the preserve and beat a lot of the heat. Some people told me
you shouldn’t hike in the desert alone, but no one I know has the days off that I have, and
no one else I know has the interest. So I am on my own.

Yesterday, I was alone, but I never felt alone. I am looking forward to my next visit here or
to some other destination. I will be putting up a followup page with links to my videos, it’ll
probably be a few at a time, as I don’t want to take advantage of the business that has offered me use of their wifi for  posting here.

Folks, if you get a chance, go check out the preserve, here is a link for more information.


P.s. I would also like to think the other Randy I met who gave me a ride all the way up the hill and dropped me off right at my car! Thank you sir!

A late note. I am having real trouble coordinating blogger with live writer and am unsure if this is even going out on the net.

Morongobill goes on a hike, almost gets shot.

Yesterday, July 22, I hiked down the canyon at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve,
made it all the way to Indian Avenue where I ended up hitch-hiking back up to
where I left the morongomobile at the preserve’s parking lot.

I am working on a trip report which may come out over the weekend.

After the 3.5 mile marker sign and around where the canyon doglegs right, I heard gunfire
which sounded to this old Georgia boy, like from a rifle. I was doing a voice recording on
my cell phone at the time about my hike, I ended up making 2 recordings about 5 minutes apart.

Sorry but I am unable to insert these audio files here and Youtube won’t take them either. Hopefully at some point I will be able to figure this out.However they are in Real Audio format, amr, and are around 120 kb each, if anyone wants to hear them, shoot me an email and I will email the 3 I made to you for your listening pleasure.

Folks, I will be putting out a trip report with the videos and photos soon. But today I want
to share a couple of things with you while they are fresh in my memory from yesterday.
Parents, it is imperative that if you own a gun or if your kid owns a gun, the kids must be trained in their use. I don’t mean in a fancy class somewhere, I mean the parent, mom or dad, taking the child out and showing them how to operate them, how to clean them, if they
want to do target shooting, the importance of shooting with a back stop behind the

Rifles and pistols are tools, their business and purpose is death, death, death, you got it?

You know when I heard those shots yesterday, I knew I had no choice but to walk toward them. No way I could turn around and do a strenuous 3.5 miles back uphill running low on
water in 100 degree+ sunshine. My hope was they were shooting in a side canyon. But
when I made it around that last dogleg turn and the canyon opened up wide and the gun
shots rang out again, my thoughts were do I duck down in the bushes and get shot like
an animal or walk out upright in the open like a man.

So I walked out in the open and that’s when the bullet went by me. I raised my right hand and waved it over my head, yelling “stop shooting, stop shooting, hiker coming through”
and there were no more shots. I could see what looked like a dark Jeep Cherokee or
similar parked to the right and a teenager getting into it, looking back at me. I walked right
toward them and the Jeep took off but stopped as the driver kept trying to get his door to close. He actually stopped again as the door wouldn’t close, finally he got it closed and the
Jeep with the 2 passengers took off down to Indian Avenue where they turned left toward
Desert Hot Springs and vanished.

When I got to the road, I stuck my thumb out and the 6th vehicle stopped and took me all the way to my car. The truck was driven by a young christian man, Randy, the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet and when I explained what just happened, he apologized to me for
it. I told him I used to live out here and know how good most of the people are out in the area.

When I got back to my office, the donut shop, in Anaheim, someone told me I’d probably
be jumpy every time I heard a truck backfire, I replied no but that bullet sound going by you,
that sound I was sure I’d never forget.



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Credit rating chickens coming home to roost in the good old USA, Part 2.

The story has been picked up by a major financial blog that I follow, read that article

I suggest that you click on the Financial Times link in the blog post. You will have to register, but it is free and it will allow you access for up to 10 articles a month and access
to 5 years back in their archives.
They ask for your email, you make up a password,
and they ask for a zip code. I checked the box not to send me offers.

Here is the link to the Chinese news agency article about the ratings company. This is an
english language site, quite nice actually, and it reads like americans wrote it.
(from the not ready for primetime dept, can you believe this windows live writer spell check
says I misspelled english and americans? Now do you see why one of my leitmotif’s has
been constant complaints about buggy software?-END OF RANT)

My original post is here:

The newspapers, magazines, blogs, and financial shows are starting to mention this
opening salvo in a possible financial war now, I tend to agree with Jesse, we’re playing
chess or checkers, while our adversary is playing go. As I mentioned in my first post on
this subject, they are masters of indirection. Why go nuclear, dumping their dollar holdings,
when they can cover most of their positions with credit default swaps, derivatives etc to
cut their risk. This frees them up to pursue their goals without taking a major hit in their
investment portfolio, while they can attempt to teach us a financial lesson we won’t forget.
It’s diabolical actually, using Wall Street created “weapons of financial destruction”
against the creators and inventors of those wofd’s, to reach their national goals.

Just something to think about here on the backporch.


A comment I made on a political blog re: global warming,etc. and my thoughts on our “teacher-in-chief.”

This is a cut and paste job so I don’t know how it will work out, once I click ctrl-v:

By morongobill, July 19 at 9:37 pm #

Most people are too busy trying to ensure their own economic survival to really drop everything and focus on this or any other issue.

That’s where leadership comes in. That’s where a president can call to the people from the bully pulpit.

It is the job of a leader to lead, to lead by example, to call out to the people to rise above themselves and their problems, at that moment and to keep the people focused on the problem at hand.

And sometimes a leader has to get angry, and to channel that anger, yes, even through the people. It
works for dictators and thugs, it can work for our president. Sometimes,striking fear into your opponents heart, is a good thing.

And you sure as hell don’t keep extending the hand of friendship and compromise, to people who will take that hand up, and then bitch slap you in the face.

I have thought for a long time that instead of a righteous warrior, what we elected was a “teacher-in-chief.” Time for lessons is over and school is over for the day.

The bully is out back behind the gym waiting. Do you keep talking, hoping you can talk him out of a fight, or do you reach inside yourself for that courage and go beat his ass once and for all?

In a nutshell, that’s where we progressives are today. We had the repub’s on the ropes, swaying and almost down for the count. This president, this administration, this congress, this democratic party let them back up, we even gave them a “long count” and now we’re getting our asses kicked.

Sometimes getting your ass kicked is a good thing. It gets you focused, and ready to even the score next time.

We’re getting clocked, but it isn’t over yet.

Who knows, maybe our “teacher-in-chief” will suddenly grow a pair, and become meaner and feistier and start over, before it’s too late.


If he can’t or won’t, his ass will be grass the next election and WE WILL BE THE LAWNMOWER. I mean that, we progressives will show him the door.

The average person doesn’t know what to think, doesn’t know who to believe, and for sure, will not fight to stop the global warming, as long as the corporate media continues to call it a job killer.

J-O-B-S! That’s all people care about right now. So somehow, we need to tell this narrative in a way that it spells out J-O-B C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N. It’s the only way it will sell. Period.

I don’t have the answer, but I can sure as hell see the problem. If we can see it out here in the boondocks, why can’t our “public servants” see it?

The two most powerful motivators are money and pure,
physical fear. If we could figure out how to get that one-two going, we could solve this climate issue and our governance issues.

Keeping it simple and stupid works for the repub’s, let’s make it work for us.

Now you know what I do when I am not messing around with this blog or driving a bus.


Monday, July 19, 2010

BrightSource Ivanpah links, all my articles, and a plea for help from people of goodwill, who love wilderness and nature.

Lately, I have had people visiting my BrightSource articles so I have
decided to make it a little easier for those folks. Here are most of my
Ivanpah posts from the beginning, to the best of my memory.

The above posts were from Jan. 2010, the 1st month of this blog. Below are Feb’s
posts on this subject.

Next are March, 2010. I did my trip reports to the site during this month.

In the above link I interviewed a desert tortoise at the BrightSource Ivanpah site ;-)

Above is a trip report.

Below are the April, 2010 blog posts.

The above is a must read!

And below some say my most disrespectful and outrageous post to this blog.

Here are the May posts for 2010.

June, 2010.

Great video in next link, especially of the Ivanpah site.

Afraid I got carried away in my commentary on the next link below.

Here’s proof below that Bechtel and other big time players have been following my Ivanpah

A post I made June 24 below.

July, 2010 posts.

August, 2010 posts.

I am sure that I may have missed a couple of posts here and there, but this is surely
enough to keep the “Bechtel and BrightSource” boys busy downloading for a while.

Also in case you missed it, I have a ton of BrightSource Ivanpah site visit videos and
others at my youtube site,

Those of you surfing in for the first time, from truthdig or smirking chimp or the New
York Times or Financial Armageddon or Decline of the Empire or Coyote Crossing or
Basin and Range Watch, any of the places I’ve commented at etc, the above articles
really define me as a “wannabe blogger.” This Ivanpah solar site and Ivanpah Valley
are what I really care about. Yes, I haven’t posted about it much lately, but it isn’t because
I haven’t cared.

Let me bring you up to speed real fast here. This valley is about to be devastated, I don’t
know any other way to put it out there to you. No hyperbole, just fact. And we are in the
last inning or two of the game. I expect we will be hearing a final approval from the CEC
pretty soon and my guess is, seconds after it comes down, the diesel earthmover engines”
are going to be fired up.

I have stated several times that in my opinion, what’s needed is one of the environmental
groups to file a lawsuit. Anything to give us more time. There has to be something there
a good environmental law firm can hang their hat on.

I also believe that the dismal credit and capital markets, as well as the overwrought
federal budget mess, irrespective of the federal loan guarantees, may cause this
project to go south. Dear Lord, I hope so.

In the meantime, all we can do is keep hoping, and keep fighting the good fight, try not
to get too depressed, something I fall prey to from time to time, just keep putting ourselves
out there against the forces that would love nothing more than to bulldoze every square
foot of this beautiful Mojave desert and Ivanpah Valley.

I’ll leave you with a couple of photo’s my regular readers have seen a few times, but maybe you haven’t.

Will you please consider getting involved in this struggle to stop the destruction of your
Mojave desert?

Vaya con dios, my friends.


ivanpah032410hike 032 

The above area will be covered with thousands and thousands of heliostatic mirrors soon if nothing changes.

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 archivecd18 126

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P.S. There are a few other sites to check it for information, here’s a couple off the top of my head: is the Coyote Crossing site and Chris has written several articles about
this project and a must read is the open letter about the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station.

Kevin and Laura, and their volunteers have done fantastic work as well on this issue, my
personal favorite is here:

It’s entitled “Last spring at Ivanpah?” A definite must read.

Also don’t forget to head over to Shaun’s site, the Mojave Desert Blog, for the latest updates for the various desert renewable energy sites, including Ivanpah.

I am sorry to leave so many others out, I’m exhausted from driving a bus all day and being unable to sleep a wink last night. Check everything out and be safe.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oh now it’s an entitlement? The government doesn’t want to pay back the 2.5TRILLION $ it took from “our” social security trust fund!

Anybody out there remember that great classic movie, “The Cincinnatti Kid?” I am
referring to the climactic scene at the end where Yancey(Edward G. Robinson) draws
the one card needed to get his royal flush, wiping out “The Kid”(Steve Mcqueen),
gutting and breaking him. The Kid had no money so he asked if Yancey would take his marker. Let’s see if I remember that famous line, “you’re good kid, damn good, but as
long as I am around, you’re second best and you’d better learn to live with it.”

That’s basically where the American working class, meaning anyone who paid into
the social security system is right now. We let the ruling class gamble with our
social security trust fund, they lost the money, but having no honor, they refuse
to pick up their marker.
Remember during Reagan’s term when they raised the fica
tax on everybody? This increase was to ensure the future solvency of the system and
would have, if the money had been left in the fund and invested safely.

But of course, here in Amerika, nothing is ever left laying somewhere collecting interest,
as long as politicians of either persuasion are around to “rob the till.”  That 2.5 trillion $ if left unmolested would be worth over 8 trillion $ today. Would 8 trillion $ help out today
in this depression? You bet it would!

Unfortunately our politicians of both stripes, actually they should be called polecats because they have one stripe like a skunk, took every damn penny out of the fund and
left a marker, which is due now, and they don’t want to pickup their marker. To paraphrase
Mr Joseph P. kennedy, Sr.- the politicians are sons of bitches and can’t be trusted.

Their dishonesty and perfidy know no bounds. And the gall, the arrogance! Now
they want to try to convince us that to save social security, we who paid in must accept
less in benefits, and work much longer to get them. Why the hell should we? We’re
not the ones who took the money from the trust fund and left the marker. We paid
in and trusted the government to do what it always had, invest the money wisely
and have the money on hand when the call came in. Well the call has come and
the elites aren’t answering. They’re too busy writing up tomorrow’s talking
points about the greedy seniors and their “entitlements.”

Folks this isn’t an entitlement. We bought and paid for this. But someone else spent the
money like drunken sailors, actually far worse than that, and they have the unmitigated
gall to accuse us of expecting welfare entitlements! In the old days, they would have
been horse whipped, tarred and feathered, and then ridden out on a rail. But nowadays
we live in a more enlightened world where they fight the charges to the bitter end, then
read a lawyer’s statement of regret, and go on a book tour.

I don’t know how many times, I have heard people say that social security wouldn’t be
around for them when it was time to stop working. I always assured them, of course, it
will be there, you’re worrying too much.

Now, I realize that perhaps subconsciously they might have been on to something.

Remember when baby Bush was president and he tried to “privatize social security?”
In hindsight it’s beginning to look like that campaign was the stalking horse for the
real future attempt to get out of picking up that marker.
The monied elites, not
satisfied till they get their last pound of flesh out of the “wage slaves”, learned lessons
from that failed attempt, lessons which I fear will help them immensely this time around.

People, we are fighting with one hand tied behind our backs. The other side controls
the corporations including the news media, the Congress, the executive branch including
our “teacher-in-chief” who’s already working on his speech telling us why we will need
to sacrifice, the court system. all the levers of power.

As T.R. would say, “Bully, we got them right where we want them!”

Folks, we have right on our side, this issue is simple, they stole from us, we want
the money back, with interest. And we won’t settle for anything less.

Let’s go out there and start kicking some behinds- when you hear some talking
head going on about sacrifices, call in to the radio or tv show, and ask them- what about
the money taken from the trust fund? What’s the repayment schedule? Write a letter to the
editor in your local town. Comment on articles on the New York Times, etc. Look, I am no
brain surgeon, if I can be published at the N.Y.Times, so can you! Comment on blogs
such as this one, one of literally millions out there.

If you think this can be won in the main stream media, you’re dead wrong! They’re
part of the problem. I believe this will have to be a grass roots effort, and trust me-
if we win this one, we will have given them an ass kicking, one the likes of, they’ll
never forget.

Now before you go out and kick some  ass, why don’t you peruse these articles

I am Morongobill, your host, and I welcome your comments here at my little corner, my
backporch on the net. I intend to fight, it would be nice to have you at my back, fighting with me.

Fight on!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Found some missing photos, maybe someone can help me identify location?

These were found on an IBM microdrive in the .orf format so they were probably taken with my Olympus E-10 digital slr, probably at least 5 years ago.
microdrive 046

I am wondering if they were taken on 395, beyond Ridgecrest?
microdrive 047

microdrive 038

I believe when these photos were taken, I was still employed by the chemical company
so they were probably taken on my way up to do the Vons markets in Bishop or Mammoth.
microdrive 034

I am sitting in my big bus waiting a few hours for a group to get out of Wild Rivers
in Irvine, got at least 3 hours more to wait, no wifi available, looking at these photos
sure makes me feel antsey. Ready to head north back up to this area, where ever
it may be.
microdrive 045

If you have the opportunity to head out of the big city and see the countryside,
take it. You may not get another chance for a while.

Hope to see you out on the road.


P.s. Speaking of missing photos, have you ever taken a set that you knew were
just perfect, dramatic, great lighting, interesting subject matter, then misplace the
disk you saved them to?

This happened to me, a few days ago I found a photo I took which reminded me of
the rest of the missing photos. Several years ago, near Amarillo, I came upon the Cadillac ranch where the old caddies are buried nose into the dirt in a row, the sky was ominous
with blackening clouds, the cars were graffitied in different colors, I took an awesome
set of photos. Burned them to a cd and they slipped from my memory.

One day I will tear my Joshua Tree storage apart for that cd.
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On the other hand, if I don’t have an empty the storage sale, maybe not.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mixed environmental signals from the Obama administration- anyone else not surprised? Plus calling all environmental groups involved in the struggle, especially the legal departments!

News from the last couple of days:

National Oil Petroleum reserve opened up for “responsible(oil drilling and maybe coal
later)development per the energy czar, Kenny(new sheriff in town) Salazar. Oh, I forgot,
”environmentally responsible development.” This is coming from the same regulators
that allowed BP, Transocean, et al carte blanche to almost singlehandedly destroy the
Gulf of Mexico and if we don’t stop them, will allow BP to take its’ environmentally
conscious drilling procedures up to our Arctic. Over the walrus’s and polar bears and Eskimo’s dead bodies of course. I don’t care what anybody says, you can’t change a
leopard’s spots. I sincerely doubt BP has changed in its’ business model, face it, they
are serial screw ups, environmentally speaking.

Speaking of coal, a rare moment of backbone from this administration. EPA is threatening
to halt Spruce 1, a mountaintop removal coal mine project in the aptly named Pigeonroost
Hollow in West Virginia. I’m sure folks are happy to see them finally take a stand before all
the mountaintops in Appalachia are leveled and the valleys filled in, and streams and waterways destroyed. This action is shocking to this blogger as the only previous
courage shown to me was the firing of the general recently.
That may not have been as much a show of courage as it was a matter of pique, but I won’t question the “teacher-
in-chief’s” motives.

Let’s see, we have mentioned coal, oil, how about gas pipelines? Yes, it appears that after
a thorough, impartial review typical bureaucratic procedure, a rubber stamping of a done
deal made in advance, the BLM has issued approval for right of ways for the 680 mile Ruby
Pipeline Project, and speaking of rubberstamping, they will start construction as soon as they get approval from the FERC, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

How about another rubber stamp deal? It was announced by the Forest Service that 19 miles of the Sunrise Powerlink will be built through the Cleveland National Forest, supposedly after a “comprehensive deliberation” from the forest supervisor. Why does
it always seem that these “comprehensive deliberations” all have the same ending, with the environment always getting the shaft, while the “renewable energy” firms always get the goldmine?

And how could I forget Solar Millennium? It was reported on the Mojave Desert Blog
that they sent a letter to the California Energy Commission requesting their Ridgecrest
solar project be removed from the application review process for 2 years, so that they can
do thorough study of the mojave ground squirrel, a laudable motive and to be run by the
acknowledged scientific expert on the species, but smacked of “too good to be true” to
this old, grizzled blogger.

From the “too good to be true” news department, it also seems that Solar Millennium’s
application to build, not one but two, humungous solar projects in the Amargosa Valley
was given an enthusiastic “thumbs up” by the Nye County Supervisors recently after an
apparently rowdy and scripted public hearing. These projects in Nevada have already
had a BLM completed draft environmental impact report done and are awaiting the EIS.
It remains to be seen if it will follow NEPA rules, but hey, what’s wrong for friends to bend
the rules every so often?

I am sure there may have been other deals which have managed to fall below the radar
screen on the backporch, and I apologize for devoting a lot of my attention to the macro-
economics issues facing our country today. It seems I have been neglecting my duty
to my readers to discuss issues facing the Mojave desert recently. Hopefully, this post
today will help redress that failure of mine.
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And now, my take on the future regarding these environmental issues. Folks, you
better hope and pray that the big environmental groups come through with their
legal departments. This train is revving up its’ locomotive, sand has just been dumped under the drive wheels, it’s ready to take off. Sorry but I just don’t trust
Salazar, the governator, the CEC, Forest Service, BLM, Minerals Management, the
FERC, et al. They are going to rubberstamp these projects, no ifs, ands, or buts
and all the petition signing, letter writing, etc ain’t gonna do a god-damned thing to
stop this train. Only the courts, the deliberative pace of the courts, coupled with
the steady decay of the credit and capital markets, as well as the fed’s continued
balance sheet issues, these may be the only ways left to kill these projects.

God help us from these fools and bureaucrats.

Feel free to forward this missive to any and all, especially to the big environmental groups.
We have our backs to the wall and we need help now.


Links to articles for this post:

a private word for Shaun over at the Mojave Desert Blog, I am so jealous of your new home page photo taken
at the Granite Mountains in the Mojave National Preserve,
what a fantastic photo!

Folks, your participation in this discussion via your comments are welcomed and
encouraged by this blogger. Please contribute here, and if you have any news articles
I may not have seen or other projects that will have an effect where you live, you can
email the info here: