Monday, August 29, 2011

“I’ve been to the mountaintop”

As I am sure you are aware, this is the weekend that the just completed
Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial was to open in Washington, but Hurricane Irene dashed those plans. Tonight I have Dr. King’s last speech, given in Memphis on behalf of the striking sanitation workers.

part one

Part two

Of course you know that the next day, he was brutally taken from us by
an assassin’s bullet, cutting short a life that somehow managed to touch
us all.

Dr. King died and part of each of us died with him. We lost some of our humanity that day long ago in that southern town just as we were oh so far away across the seas in a small Asian country, sticking our noses in a place we had no business, bombing the crap out of yellow peoples, trying to bomb them back to the Stone Age, in a war that Dr. King came to oppose strongly, a stance which ending up costing him a lot of support in the white liberal community.

I can only say this about the man- he followed his principles of nonviolent protests all the way to the end of his life- in a nation gone crazy at that time- he
was a beacon for hope of a good change to come, one that would come from within, inside former slaves and slave owners, the kind of change that lasts, from the heart.

Dr. King above with Malcolm X, 1964. If we could only turn back the page……..under different circumstances, if these two
had joined in the struggle for basic human and economic rights……… if fate hadn’t had the cruel plans for them……..

I will never forget his speech where he taught the concept of different types of love, agape I believe he said, referring to love your neighbor, it opened my eyes
and finally I got it, what he was saying, and what religious figures like Christ
were referring to…..

Folks, I would like you to remember something tonight. Dr. King has been sanitized by the corporate media, maybe I am not making myself clear; his memory, his life, his sayings, have been boiled down to a few slogans, the memory of his life transformed into memories as of an old relative who lived long ago, harmless, everybody has one in their family.

The real Dr. King can not be reduced to the lowest common denominator like that, nor can he just be a sound bite. He didn’t just have a dream, and he know way, no how, never sold out to anyone or anybody- nobody owned him, and nobody could stop him from telling things as he saw them.

Except his killer.

My most fervent wish tonight is that somewhere out there, maybe he or she is but a child, looking out on this world with innocence and with wide eyes, someone that is going to grow up learning about Dr. King and others who gave their all for their fellow man, and this child will grow up and take up the cloak
of struggle, and the staff, and continue on in the footsteps of those who went before, and will lead us all to that mountaintop and the promised land.

That is my wish this night.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Take a close look at the new tower design for Ivanpah SEGS, anybody see something out of place in this simulated photo?


Did you spot the one thing out of place in the photograph? No don’t tell me the tower is out of place, we got that already.

The raptor is what is out of place. Those beams of light at the bottom of the photo are aimed at the receiver and that bird would be fried already, and probably would be aflame at this point in the photo.

Well I guess you can’t blame the architect and designers for trying to make this
a bucolic scene, they probably don’t want to be seen as being someone who helped with the destruction of the Mojave anyway.

By the way, it appears that the folks at BrightSource may be going with this twisted tower design after all for Ivanpah, one that is allegedly “environmentally

If this is what is meant today by “environmentally friendly,” I would hate to see
what they consider destructive to the environment.

Amerika, home of GREED not GREEN, where the most environmentally destructive renewable energy projects are totally embraced by the greens and the greedy.

And paid for, of course, with your tax dollars.

Which of course, don’t mean shit, as long as you get to watch the latest American Idol.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

A change of plans. I am passing on the Stateline meeting next week for another destination, one also in danger.

Recently I posted about possibly attending the public comment hearing
for the First Solar project to be built next door to the Ivanpah SEGS site.
You can read that post here. The meeting begins at 6 pm sharp next Wednesday, 8/31/2011 out at the stateline area.

I was planning to attend and to try to speak, but have decided to not go
after all.

Here is why. This is a 227 mile, one way, ride and will roughly cost about
$60 in gas alone. The morongomobile is not air conditioned. But the main
thing is, been there, done that- I spoke at the DRECP hearing in Ontario-
what did it accomplish? Nothing is what it accomplished.

No, I think if I am going to ride anywhere in the heat, and spend that kind of
money, I want to go somewhere that I haven’t been, and to a place of great
scenic beauty and of critical environmental concern that also is under the
crosshairs of the solar industrialists, and I have decided to travel to the
Carrizo Plain area of California, sooner rather than later, to see it in its’ natural
unspoiled state, before it is ruined by this rampant solar boondoggle express
that is barreling its’ way toward it.

View of the Carrizo Plain, in my opinion, this should be considered one of God’s Cathedrals.

I have never visited this area and am very excited about going. The plan
will be to take plenty of pictures, do some exploration, to get a feel for the
place, something I really can’t get from a computer screen. For sure, I will
visit the Carrizo Plain National Monument, I don’t know if I will be able to
go to the proposed solar sites or not- on the first visit.

So stay tuned, a trip report will follow soon after the trip is made, tentatively
scheduled the first half of September.

As far as the comment hearing next Wednesday, I am going to look into whether they will be taking written or emailed comments, or perhaps they may have the possibility of calling in, as they did at the DRECP hearing I went to.
Perhaps I may get my 2 cents in after all.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

For over 1,400 years, a promise made and kept.

On historic Mt. Sinai in Egypt, there has been a Greek Orthodox presence
since at least 381 A.D. We know this from an account written in Latin by Egeria,
a woman who travelled in the area. At the time of her visit, The Chapel of the Burning Bush would have been her destination, the purported site where Moses was ordered by God to approach the Pharaoh and ask to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt. Links here and here for more information regarding
the Burning Bush and St. Catherine’s.


Emperor Justinian I who reigned in the 6th century ordered the building of the
monastery which was built around The Chapel of the Burning Bush, and it has
been there ever since, in operation, servicing the spiritual needs of the small congregation, the smallest diocese in the world in the Greek Orthodox faith.

How has this little monastery managed to survive the Crusades, and the rise and fall of empires over the last 1,400 years? So many other Holy sites and others have fallen into decrepitude or no longer exist, or were put to the sword and the fire during this time period, how did the monks and their little diocese stay free, still worshiping their God?

It is said that the monastery sent a delegation to see the Prophet in Medina in the year 628 A.D. and that the Prophet had dictated a Covenant with the monastery that had his handprint affixed, this is also known as the Achtiname
of Muhammed
to historians and scholars. Here is the promise made by the Prophet to the Christian monks, as translated into English:

“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”


Above is a copy of the actual document, also called The Patent of Muhammed. The original was taken off to
the Ottoman Empire and has yet to be found in the archives.

Here is a video of the monastery and I strongly suggest you watch this.

The monk is Brother Justin who is the only monk that is not Greek, he actually is from El Paso, Texas.

Here is the link to a great New York Times article about Brother Justin and his work digitizing the extensive library of ancient and sacred texts, some almost a
thousand years old.

Another great link to a site, Islamic I believe, with awesome photographs of the monastery and the area.

ScreenHunter_01 Aug. 23 12.41

A satellite view above of St. Catherine’s Monastery located at Mt. Sinai. Not many know this, there is a mosque on the grounds, but it was never used, as it doesn’t face Mecca.

So for over a millennium, the monastery has existing untouched and unmolested, free to do its’ good works, enjoying the protection of the Prophet,
whose Covenant has been honored by Muslims ever since. Mt. Sinai, a Holy
Place, sacred to Jews, Muslims, and Christians has been kept safe from the ravages of war and sectarianism since that time so many years ago.

Where else in the world can you find an example like this? Not here, that’s for sure. Ask the original inhabitants of this land whether the treaties issued and
signed by the Great White Father in Washington were honored, if they were worth the paper that they were written on. There is not a document today that hasn’t been vetted by the legal department somewhere, that isn’t chock full of “weasel words” all designed to get them out of their obligations, and to remove the money from your pocket.

There is a lesson in here somewhere for this modern day and age.

Here is to the monks at St. Catherine’s continuing their good works for the next 1,400 years and that their good example will continue reminding the rest of us
what the words, peaceful coexistence, really mean.

Here is to the Muslim faithful honoring the Prophet’s Covenant to the Monks
at St. Catherine’s Monastery, something that they have done all this time from then to now.

Why can’t Jews, Muslims, and Christians forget their differences and coexist
with each other one day, like the monks and their neighbors have for centuries?
One can dream, they can’t take your dreams from you, unless you allow them to do so.

Alas, it is not very likely to occur, with the way things are nowadays in this world.

But what if it did happen, what if?

Other online sources used in the writing of this post include the following links:

Wikipedia article on the Prophet



Monday, August 22, 2011

A short tribute to one of my favorite rock and roll guitarists, Mick Taylor.

One of the great mysteries of rock and roll was what events led to the departure
of lead guitarist Mick Taylor from the Rolling Stones  in 1974 after the release of the album” It’s only rock and roll.” He was all of 25 years old.
ScreenHunter_01 Aug. 22 17.41

Some say Mick and Keith conspired against him, Keith is reported to have told him he played way too loud in the studio and some of his guitar solo tracks were mysteriously erased for the “It’s only rock and roll” tapes. Remember now this was only about 4 years after the death of former band member, Brian Jones. Whatever happened, we probably will never know, but I am sure as I can be that if Mick Taylor had stayed with the band, no question, they would have been the all time greatest rock and roll band, hands down.

What a talent this young man was. The blasting riff at the beginning of “Can’t you hear me knocking?”- that’s Mick. And the long solo at the end of the song-
Mick just kept on playing and the band followed his lead. Instead of a typical 4 minute or so rock song on a typical album, it became a 7 minute classic.

Mick’s great ending solo from Can’t you hear me knocking?

But here is the song I have been listening to also today which I guess is perfect for my “black dog” mood. This appears to be the original 6 minute+ version of the Rolling Stones classic, “Time waits for no one” that Mick ends with one of my absolute all time favorite guitar solos. I am also going to put
up the youtube clip of just the solo only, it really has some wonderful photos,
like the one with Jimmy Hendricks with Mick Taylor.

First the solo.

The long version of “Time waits for no one.”

The long version which is not in any compilation cd.

Here are a few links for you to peruse and to learn more about this great talent.

This tribute site has a wealth of information all about Mick Taylor.

A page with lots of news articles about Mick

While no rock and roll historian, I know what I like. This music I love. Listen to it.
See if it doesn’t help your mood sometimes.

With all that’s going on in my life, from all the work driving bus, to the worries about the economy and our sorry assed politicians doing their utmost to run this country right into a ditch, while finishing the job of outsourcing the jobs, to the ongoing raping of the Mojave Desert, I can’t take much more.

Music like this helps me cope, before I am totally overwhelmed by despair and this “black dog.”

Maybe it will help some of you out there that happen upon this site.

Thanks for stopping by.


 A late addition. Mick on slide guitar and singing “Alabama.”


Friday, August 19, 2011

Big public comment hearing Wednesday 08/31 at stateline for new HUGE solar farm going in next door to Ivanpah SEGS.

To be held 1800-2100, that’s 6-9 pm, at the Primm Country Club, so bring your golf clubs- you might need them to fight off the BrightSource First Solar media handlers.

Just kidding, folks.

Late addition here folks. You will great a great view of your tax dollars at work as you drive by the many miles long Ivanpah SEGS project as you come down the hill from Nipton Road, it will be on your left- you can’t miss it.

Take Interstate 15 from California or from Nevada and exit at Yates Well Road.
You can’t get get lost as it is the closest exit inside California to the state line and you can’t miss the golf course complex sitting by the side of the road next to the dry lake bed.

Why did I just flash back to an email I received during the Clinton Years entitled
”Severe Weather Alert” and warning of possible damage to the Clinton Presidential Library, portrayed by a dilapidated singlewide house trailer on blocks in the middle of the road with a funnel cloud nearby----- the Morongobill
is losing it folks.

So if you are losing patience with the way your state and federal governments are handling the management of your Mojave Desert, this is your chance to finally get it off your chest!

The official BLM press release here.

The project "facts" page.

Here is a “from a distance” photo showing the golf course and proposed area of this solar boondoggle farm.
ivanpahfieldtrip 011

Oops! Wrong photo, although it does capture succinctly my feelings regarding an additional new solar “farm” coming to the Ivanpah Valley.
091410ivanpahsegs 011

Sorry, I guess I don’t have a golf course photo. The golf course country club and Yates Well road are a couple of miles into the above picture.

I know nobody really gives a damn about my intentions, so I will tell you anyway. I am going to try to be there. Note to First Solar and the “pointy headed bureaucrats, here is my photograph that you can pass out to security, so that they can give me the warm welcome that I am sure that they would like to extend to a blogger of my exalted lowly status.
archivecd18 003

Dang it, I messed up again!
bigmorongocanyonhike 001

In this photo, it is plain to all that I possibly might be an ounce or two overweight. Photo taken by my friend
Randy Partlow at the Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve in 2010.

New visitors coming by, that haven’t been scared off by now, might wonder
what my opinion of this new solar “farm” might be. To paraphrase a great
sportsman when asked about another team’s star slugger’s performance that night against his team- I think it’s f---ing horseshit, what do think I feel about it?

At the risk of re-fighting a losing(so far anyway) battle, here are the dangers facing the Ivanpah Valley right now, and just in this area alone.

  • Ivanpah SEGS construction ongoing and on schedule.
  • this project will be another 3 1/2 square miles of prime, pristine desert
    ecosystem and habitat run through the masticator transplanter.
  • across the valley, on the other side of the dry Ivanpah Lake bed will be 2 more giant solar farms, to be built out soon.
  • also over on that side, will at some point be another giant rare earths mine
  • and don’t forget the LAS Vegas to Where??? Desert Xpress train which will
    cutting through the desert and the Mojave National Preserve at some point in the not too distant future.
  • dear me, I almost forgot the giant Ivanpah airport which although on hold now due to financing issues, I am quite positive will end up being built in the next decade or so.

I stand by my opinion- these projects are just so much horseshit, tossed against the wall like spaghetti to see if any will stick, with the once pristine
Ivanpah Valley about to be industrialized as never before, and with very few people giving a rat’s ass about it.

Maybe I’ll see some of you out there. Maybe we’ll lift an ice cold Arnold Palmer in commiseration with the supine, and raped Ivanpah Valley, or toss the cans at the Man we’ll head over to a nearby casino bar and drown our sorrows…..


Saturday, August 13, 2011

I can’t reach through the computer screen and shake you to wake you up- but maybe this short video might help you to care just a little about your Mojave Desert.

This was posted here a year ago but I think we need to look at it again.

Watch it.

Love it.

Cry for it.

Because it is about to go bye bye.

And you know what bothers me the most?

It sure seems like most people just don’t give a damn.


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Thursday, August 11, 2011

New solar going up next door to wind turbines in the Coachella Valley

Yesterday I decided to drive up to Big Morongo with Lee Murray, a friend and
fellow blogger.

On the way up Hwy 62 I noticed what appeared to be a solar farm being built
off Dillon Road, on the Desert Hot Springs side. So we drove to the side road and cruised by the area at the intersection of Worsley and Dillon Road, and found the new solar farm in development and directly adjacent to a wind farm.
The following pictures are very blurry due to the high winds in the area buffeting my digicam.
081011palmsprgs 009

I told you they would be blurry.
081011palmsprgs 010

081011palmsprgs 011

I can’t really estimate the size of the field(and by the way it was surrounded by
a dark privacy fence) except to say that it seemed like it went down Dillon road about the distance between 4 to 5 telephone poles apart. At first when we saw it, Lee and I thought it was being built inside the wind turbine area, but it was to the left side, right next to it.
ScreenHunter_01 Aug. 11 19.09

The next step was to do a drive by video if possible, here is what we came up with. I filmed it with my digicam from the passenger seat of the morongomobile while my friend drove. This is about a 2 minute video.

Near Dillon Rd and Worsley intersection in Desert Hot Springs, California.

While looking across the valley, we saw what appeared to be more pv solar farms in the distance, and we decided to go see for ourselves after doing a
short hike up at Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve.

And a short hike it was in the 95 degree + heat. By mutual agreement after 2 miles we decided to call it a day there and head back down to look for the mysterious new pv solar farms we saw earlier in the distance. Here is the only
decent picture taken by me at the preserve.
081011palmsprgs 014

After getting back downhill to the 102 degree Palm Springs area in the un-air conditioned morongomobile, we drove down Indian Avenue and over toward the tram area, then headed out on Hwy 111 looking for the solar field. We got way out near Snow Creek and I decided to climb a hill by the roadside to get up
high enough to see over a berm in the area where I suspected the solar fields were located.

The shot of my wide body going up that hill wasn’t particularly flattering, as the Morongobill might possibly
be an axe handle or so wide.

Here is the video taken from that vantage point. The wind is extremely brisk
through this area, hence all the windmills, and the shakiness seen in the video.
My apologies in advance.

What I thought were pv panels across the road and beyond the bridge, first spotted from a couple of miles away.

Some further thoughts on the pv solar farm in this area of the Coachella Valley.
This area being one of the windiest places in the whole country is home to thousands of wind turbines of all types across the desert. And there is a lot of land left over. When I first spied the pv construction while driving, I thought that
it was being built inside the windmill area. Upon arrival, it became clear that the land was being used only for the solar.

This immediate area is very close to the now long gone and plucked Devil’s Garden, whose destruction from plant collectors and others, led Ms. Minerva Hoyt to start her conservation projects leading up to the founding of Joshua Tree National Monument. In addition, across the street once I spotted a burrowing owl, so there is wildlife in the area.

It has occurred to me that at some point, the wind developers holding these leases might install pv solar in the open spaces, and that is what first got my attention, when I saw this from a distance. So far it hasn’t happened as far as I know, but if it did, rather here than out in the wild Mojave.

Hope you enjoyed this little trip report.


Wall Street commentator loses it on the air- watch the video, see if you agree with him.

He said at the end what I have told friends, this president needs to look back to Teddy Roosevelt, for guidance.

These horrendous financial and political times are crying out for a real leader to step forward, and go around this bought and paid for political system,
before we totally come under the control of the oligarchs.

Here is the video.

Watch the whole thing, the reference to TR is near the end.

Many thanks to Dave Cohen over at the Decline of the Empire blog for turning
me on to this video.

Let me sketch out a quick historical lesson from my admittedly sketchy memory.

President Teddy Roosevelt was convinced that the Congress was bought and paid for by the powerful business trusts, sort of like the banksters and Wall Street types, and military contractors that seem to have bought our politicians today. By using the power of the presidency and the bully pulpit and acting unilaterally at times, he began actions that led to the busting of the powerful trusts, hence the word trustbuster.

In addition, in a move which has been admired to this very day, he expanded the national park system, in the west, which he loved. He didn’t give a damn about others’ opinions, he did what he felt was right, and got the approval and love of the people.

What a contrast to today, a poll for this, a poll for that, and a president who in my opinion may have sold out long ago to the moneyed interests.

But, like Mr. Ratigan, one can still dream. They can’t take your dreams away.

Contrary to some, I still believe we have a chance to take our government back.

Memo to the whitehouse from this irritated LIBERAL:

If you don’t channel your inner TR and FDR soon, if you don’t find your way out
of the clutches of your Wall Street advisers and lobbyists and other political hacks, you are finished, the democratic party as a home for LIBERALS is done-
you’ve already, by not fighting for what you promised, disaffected and demoralized your youth base, liberals, union members, and now the black population that was your most fervent source of support is finally waking up to the fact that they are being screwed by your policies more than anyone else, and they are watching their hard fought economic gains blow away
like so many leaves in a windstorm
- how long can this go on?

Folks, these beltway and wall street types have been telling the lies so long that they now believe their own bullshit they peddle, more so than their marks.

Let the bastards keep drinking their own koolaid, and hopefully get tossed out in the trash, the next election, before they totally sell out this country.

We need to standup as individuals in our own little worlds, remember to paraphrase Dr. King, “the man can’t ride your back if you standup.”


Monday, August 8, 2011

BrightSource Energy on the run in Israel? Can Israeli environmentalists stop giant solar farms from being built in the Negev Desert?

I came across a very interesting post over at Green Prophet, a blog dealing with renewable energy and other issues, in the middle east, with news from
all the countries of the region, including Israel. Link to the article below.

New Study Shows Negev Solar Farm is a Death Knell for Wildlife

Study Slams Plans for Negev Solar Farms

Most people are probably unaware of the fact that BrightSource is an Israeli/
American company and that it spent many years toiling away in the desert
there; no, not 40 years, perfecting its’ technology, and making the Grand Plans to make it big in America.

So I found it this post to be fascinating. By the way, I am trying to locate the study from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and hope to get further word on that soon. In the meantime, we go with what we have.

There is plenty of information in those 2 links and quotes by Doron Rotem, resident expert at the parks authority and writer of the report, to get the sense of the direction that the official government agency would like events to go forth. From my reading, the parks authority would like to save the Negev Desert and its’ animal species, and go in the direction of distributed power generation or rooftop solar, as the answer to the country’s renewable energy
power needs.

Man, would I love to feast my eyes on that study.

The money quote from the top article above:
“It now appears that the environmentalists in Israel may be winning out on efforts to build giant solar array farms in the Negev and Arava regions. A recent study conducted by Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) indicates that building such projects could be fatal to thousands of wild animals that live in the fragile ecosystem of these desert regions.”

Folks, you have no idea how long I have waited to read such a quote, that
environmentalists somewhere, somehow were winning against the renewable energy industrialists!

Somewhere in this big news from Israel, there must be a lesson that can be applied somehow here in the struggle to save our southwestern desert ecosystems from the ravages of renewable energy industrialization.

One obvious glaring difference between their story and ours appears to be the
government siding with the environmentalists. Boy, here it is the exact opposite-
from Sheriff Kenny Salazar approving anything ass long as it has “renewable energy”  written somewhere to returning Governor Jerry Brown vowing to crush
opposition to the desert solar projects
- here in the United States of Amerika,
the B.S.’er’s seem to have everything going their way.

So stay tuned, I hope to obtain a copy of the report and provide more details when available.

Lastly, wasn’t it refreshing to see a government caring about the animals it is
charged to protect? The contrast between the Israeli Park Authority’s concern and the legalistic hair splitting over here by BLM, Interior, Fish and Wildlife, all designed to allow for the take of endangered species- take which in simple
plain english means you kill them, you bulldoze for example the desert tortoise or mojave ground squirrel burrows, you crush them under the weight of one of these:
021311mnptrip 095

to create this:
021311mnptrip 009

the difference is like night and day.

If anyone out there in the blogosphere knows how to grab this report, please let us know.

It just might make a little bit of a difference here in the states, as we attempt to salvage the remaining pristine desert that is left.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Watch this video for an interesting take on the “TEA PARTY”

Presented by this blog as a public service.

Grab the embed code and put it up on your site!

The creator of this video is on to something here. Ridicule and satire work
when you deal with some folks.


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Monday, August 1, 2011

Found this gem at a new blog I follow, perfect for the times with news of the budget “deal.”

This blog is a new addition to blogs that I am following and I strongly encourage you to read the link above.


Because the fictional couple mentioned are a perfect microcosm of what went on here in this country in the last few years. I can identify with some of the events written about, and I bet you will too. How many of us know of someone whose unemployment benefits have run out, or someone who has just disappeared, maybe because of shame at their financial predicament?

The writer of the blog used to write about the “Peak oil” theory, I don’t know enough about that to comment, but I know interesting writing when I see it, and this stuff is fascinating to me.

Check it out, it’s a great read.