Monday, January 31, 2011

Wasting away in Obamaville, my thoughts on the State of the Union speech.

This year, I did not watch the SOTU speech for the first time in many years.

I did not watch it for this reason- I wanted to read it in print and think about
the message without being influenced by the orator’s speaking ability, or
how well he reads the teleprompter.
always_turn_right

I am not going to dissect the speech paragraph by paragraph but will bring
up a few points dear to me and I believe to some of my readers, along with
the actual lines from the speech.

As another blogger noted, our president has now given two state of the union
speeches, and he contrasted clips from his second speech(this one) with
Herbert Hoover’s sotu speeches after the crash on Wall Street and the panic.
The parallels were eerie. President Hoover talked of voluntary measures by
local agencies and businesses to help the unemployed without putting them
on the dole, and our president didn’t even mention the 99’ers and I am sure
that you heard all the talk from some Washington politicians who blamed the
long- termed unemployed for their own problems, some even blaming it all
on the dole!

A couple of examples to illustrate my point, first up will be Hoover the first and
second up will be the modern day Hoover:
ScreenHunter_01 Jan. 31 08.31
Here is another section from President Hoover’s 1931 SOTU address:
ScreenHunter_02 Jan. 31 08.33

As a historical note, President Hoover’s speech occurred 2 years into the events
of what we now know as the Great Depression.

Contrast his remarks to BO’s who also is 2 years after the beginning of what we
call the Great Recession.
Folks, I have the president’s speech in pdf file format and did a search of
the 17 page document for the search terms: unemployed and unemployment- here are the results:
ScreenHunter_03 Jan. 31 08.40

There must be some sort of mistake here so I searched the document with
this search term which surely must have been mentioned by our CARING AND
COMPASSIONATE president several times- 99’ers:
ScreenHunter_04 Jan. 31 08.42

Well he did say this, take of it what you will, I heard it two years ago and all I saw was over a trillion $$$$ going to the bankers and a bone tossed to
the rest of us
:
image

Barack Hoover Obama, I like the ring of that name
and in my opinion, it fits this president like a glove. Even President Hoover
uttered the words unemployment and the unemployed several times! Our
current occupant at the Oval Office, didn’t even mention them, even once!
But I digress. I promised to also fill in the blanks for you guys by reading
the tea leaves and looking for true and unsaid meanings.

Long time readers of the backporch know that I have been on the warpath against these desert solar projects from the beginning. Here is a quote from
the president’s State of the Union(SOTU)speech:

image

First let us ignore the oxymoronic “clean coal and nuclear.” That is the subject
of another post one day. For now let us focus on the 80% clean energy goal
by 2035. What he didn’t say was that we haven’t seen nothing yet. For us to
meet this goal, there won’t be a desert or wilderness not at risk in the future.
As Steve Tabor said in the letter of his that I re-posted here, we are only getting
about 1% of our energy needs met by solar and I believe he was referring to
wind also in that statement. 79% more is going to require land needs that will make what’s going on now look like a drop in the bucket.

Or how about this gem, anybody have a problem with his assertion here besides me?

image
Washington policies have broken the back of this recession? What the
hell is he smoking? Give me some of it because I’ll need it to believe this
asinine statement. Last I heard unemployment was around 10 % and over
30 states were close to bankruptcy, millions of houses were still being
foreclosed on, home prices were tanking again, oil is starting to run up
again, need I say more? I can go on for another 3 pages or so just with
this topic. But let’s carry on, shall we?

This statement most of all exposes the Washington disconnection from reality
on Main Street than any other, in this speech of unreality.

image

image

Anybody see what’s missing? Hint, remember the last time you called tech
support? What accent did you hear, was it a call perhaps answered in India
for example? OUTSOURCING! Millions of good American jobs have been
outsourced and he doesn’t even bring it up. Good high paying American
manufacturing jobs gone for good, they ain’t ever coming back, and if
you can’t find a job in your area, once the unemployment runs out, look
out below, you better go scout a place to put your refrigerator box out
on skid row!

How about this statement, you believe this hogwash?

image

I guess after reading that, I should see this in my mind’s eye.
archivecd18 198

But what the morongobill really feels was best said by that famous rock and
roll philosopher and I quote it “fills me with an urge to defecate!”
Are Americans so moronic to actually believe this pabulum?
We barely got two nickels to rub together thanks to the never- ending wars
overseas and the never- ending trillion dollar+ bailouts to the banks, our
schools and university systems are falling apart along with what’s left of our
infrastructure, you can hardly drive under a bridge without seeing new Obama-
ville residents living underneath, modern day Hoovervilles, and this president
thinks we are dumb enough to believe this crap? Don’t get me wrong, I under-
stand that he has to put a fresh spin on an old sorry story, but come on, a hog
with ear-rings, is still a hog!

This next is a real doozie, check it out.

image

Talk about galling, this takes the cake. Yes, the tax code is rigged alright.
How do you think all the jobs got outsourced? And after our multinationals
ship the jobs overseas, build their products with cheap, often slave labor,
the profits are brought home and guess what, they don’t pay any taxes at
all, talk about having the cake and eating it too. a note to you ceo’s out
there pulling this scam, remember Marie’s quote about letting them eat cake?
Is your necktie feeling a little bit tight right now?

Warning to my readers! Simplifying the tax code will mean one thing in my
opinion. Think Steve Forbe’s flat tax. The ones who will pay the price will be
us little guys and as the saying goes, crap flows downhill, hope you own some
high water waders because it is about to get pretty deep, pretty soon. We will
pay as usual for all these big ideas from our betters, who as usual will skate
away from having to pay the piper, and leaving us with the bill. I guar-damn-tee
it folks.

And now drum roll please. BO’s shining moment where he climbs to the top
of the rhetorical heap and assumes his place alongside Herbert Hoover.

image

Finally we have the proof that Washington and our leaders are totally
out of touch with reality, at least the reality out in the heartland. The
worst of the recession is over, our king says, it must be right, he’s the king, right? Wrong! The recession is not over and anybody with half a brain, and who has followed the economy and world events with even
a cursory look, knows that this is an absolute lie, the big lie, tell it long
enough and often enough, the dimwits will start to believe it.

I tell you what- when the military is pulled out of these wars, brought home, and the 800 or so bases worldwide are shutdown or cut back, when
we finally start making the plutocrats pay their fair share of taxes, when we stop funding the complete raping of our deserts, etc.- maybe then we
can have this discussion.

But those things will not happen, because we Americans have become sheeple,
listening only to what our leaders and boobtubes and idiot boxes tell us via the
media, we don’t think for ourselves anymore, if we ever did, and we’ll keep on
lurching along as we are, kidding ourselves that we are the Colossus of the World, standing astride the globe calling the shots, when in fact, like the king
mentioned in the Bible in Daniel’s dream, we have feet of clay and one day will
fall down, hard, and instead of being helped up, the rest of the world will start
kicking and kicking us while we are down, payback for all the ass kicking we have been doing for years, and you know what, it will be well deserved.

Folks, if I have pissed you off, sorry, that’s what freedom of speech is for. To
tell the truth as I see it. I issue a standing invitation to anyone, if you have a
problem with this, I offer you rebuttal space here on this blog, or just make a comment.

I have been watching events unfold from the backporch and they are not pretty.
This economy and country are about to go real bad, I can’t say exactly when, but the trend is sooner, rather than later. We can either acknowledge we have
a problem or ignore it and continue mucking along, hoping we can dodge the bullet when it comes, forgetting all the while, the gigantic self imposed bulls eye’s on our backs.

To hell with Washington. They have no idea what average people are going
through with the Great Recession, hell we just heard the president say it’s
almost over. They wouldn’t know reality if it rose up and bit them right in their
big, fat suit covered asses. We are on our own out here on Main Street, and
I say we have to look out for ourselves. I could care less about the macro-economic situation, quite honestly I am more concerned with my micro-economic personal survival, that’s what we have to do, look out for each other
and ourselves. Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble here, don’t expect FDR to
rise up from his grave and save us, we are in the tight fisted grip of the banker state, they have bought our government and it’s theirs, they stole it fair and square, they think, and unless we follow the example of our Tunisian brothers
and sisters, and go out into the streets to take back our government, and no way do I believe that will happen, prepare yourselves to be even further enslaved…..

You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Welcome to the United States of Obamaville.

Morongobill

Full text of President Obama's SOTU speech 2011

Full text of President Hoover's SOTU speech 1931

Monday, January 24, 2011

Revisited “Senor Cottonwood” yesterday, here’s a few photographs and videos for your viewing pleasure.

Total distance hiked, around 4.5 miles, half downhill, half uphill. Temperature around 65 degrees,
and wind gusts at times around 10 miles per hour.

A lot of this was on soft sand and loose rocks, the results of all the rains we have had this
winter which made for tough sledding. I barely made it back to my car, my legs were worn
out by the trail condition. Here are a few pics below with captions and a note also, the voice
recordings I made on my cell phone are available here.

Several videos were filmed also, I uploaded this video of an above ground desert stream up to
both Youtube and Vimeo, unfortunately Youtube was the only one to go through.

Alongside the canyon trail, I followed the sound of water to its’ source.

I will gradually convert more videos and add them to this page.
As I process more videos, I will add them here.1/26/2011 Morongobill.

Close encounter with the babbling brook.

Here a bluebird horns in on MY camera time!

While not a true trip report, they will
be an interesting way to spend a little time and to learn about desert canyons, although not many are
this verdant and full of life.
012311senorcottonwood 003

I filmed a short video of my friend here was sitting behind me quietly and un-noticed by me until a hiker
pointed it to me as she passed by. I met several hikers, telling several about this blog, and also 3 folks
on horseback, everybody pleasant and out enjoying the Sunday afternoon.
012311senorcottonwood 008

While crossing the stepping stones, I fell in here. Luckily for me, it was shallow where I crossed! The last time, I
saw a running stream here was my first visit, about a year after the devastating fire swept down this canyon.
012311senorcottonwood 010

The view as you approach Senor Cottonwood, note, like the Morongobill, he has lost his
hair(foliage.)
012311senorcottonwood 014

This very interesting rock formation is on the left side as you get near the tree and the canyon
dogleg right, where the trail continues downhill another 2.5 miles. Right here was where I sat and
rested when the sun was brutally beating down and the spot under the tree was unshaded, last
summer.
012311senorcottonwood 024

You can not wrap your arms around this tree, it is so huge. That root to the right is my natural
chair.
012311senorcottonwood 029

Another look at the Senor just past him.
012311senorcottonwood 044

On the way back, all uphill.
012311senorcottonwood 047

This picture is deceiving, all downhill it seems. You must climb up a steep hill to get to this point.
012311senorcottonwood 048

The stream crossing. This stream flows downhill almost a mile veering along the right side
where it goes around the knoll where the trail goes, hugging the right canyon wall until it disappears back into the ground. This stream will dry up by May is my guess, so you need to head up to the Big
Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve soon to catch it in action. Below is a video from the knoll
showing the stream’s course and where it runs back underground.

Look how water has eroded the canyon floor over the millennia!

A late note here folks. My next hike up here, I plan to go off the trail and follow the stream along the
canyon wall to try to see where it goes back underground to the aquifer and to explore that steep eroded
”river” bank in the video still above. That would be very interesting to me.

Well there you have it folks, that’s how I spent my Sunday. I must say I prefer hiking up there
when it’s not as busy, I guess I really just needed to get away from civilization yesterday.

I hope you enjoyed your visit today to the backporch. Remember if you live here in California or
plan a visit, there is a lot more to do here than just go to Disneyland or Universal Studios.

Hope to see you out on the trail.

Morongobill

Bonus picture, or my reward after all this hard work!
012311senorcottonwood 012

Here is the video the above picture is from. Sorry for a lapse of good manners, I had just wolfed down a sausage dog and another Arnold Palmer prior to breaking out a new set for this video! Hiking requires replenishment after all.

Another one bites the dust!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Prominent desert activist, Steve Tabor of Desert Survivors quits Sierra Club for not protecting our public desert lands from renewable energy development, among other things.

Folks, here is a communication I have obtained from a Sierra Club mailing list.
Mr. Tabor is saying here what has been said on the backporch almost from
the very beginning, except whereas I am an outsider, not a member of the
Sierra Club, nor what you would consider an official desert activist like Mr.
Tabor and others
, I could only surmise by observation what was and still is
going on, while these folks were on the inside, trying to make change within
the organization, to try to get the organization to be true to its’ founding ideals and protect the public lands, the wild places, as John Muir charged it with
those ideals.
220px-John_Muir_Cane
John Muir in 1907

This letter of resignation from one of the most prominent desert protection activists in this country, speaks volumes about how the organization has morphed into an entity that must have Mr. Muir spinning in his grave much like a whirling dervish in horror at what has become of his beloved institution.

I take no solace from publishing this. I have a most incredible sadness inside me right now as I type this, this proves to me beyond any shadow of doubt, this is incontrovertible evidence that the SC leadership has become totally corrupted by this theory that is pointed to in this letter, that it will in fact sacrifice any land, anywhere, in its’ desire to reduce carbon emissions regardless of the place where those emissions arise, the wild and public lands here in this country will have to pay the high price to mitigate for those emissions.

In agreement with Mr. Tabor’s ideas in this letter, I say enough is enough, we
won’t stand still for anymore of this raping of our pristine, public lands in the
guise of preventing climate change, or global warming- whatever the buzzword
of the moment is- for projects that won’t accomplish a damned thing but enriching a select few, with costs totally paid for by tax payers- with the deserts
and its’ denizens left holding the damned empty bag!

Here is the letter, I edited it only to remove the email format, mime etc and not
for content.

I stand by my editing here, it is a true copy of the letter, exactly:

Desert Lovers:

I sent this to the Sierra Club leadership the last time they sent me a "Gif=
t Planning" appeal.  Despite this, I got another renewal notice last week.

Steve Tabor

******************************


Sierra Club Gift Planning Program
Attn: Michael Brune
85 Second Street, Second Floor
San Francisco, CA  94105-3459

December 25, 2010

Mr. Brune,

I am writing to request that you remove me from your membership roll.  I am disappointed in the Club policies in recent years and can no longer support the organization.

I became a member of the Sierra Club in 1988, specifically to help it protect the California Desert with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act.  I was impressed with the Clubs willingness to make this neglected ecosystem its top priority for the California-Nevada Regional Conservation Committee.  I was also impressed with the Clubs democratic spirit and its reliance on local activists as the focus of that spirit.  I worked in the Bay Chapter Wilderness Subcommittee to further the desert protection effort and later liaised with that committee and other entities of the Club to get the Protection Act passed.  That was an eight-year struggle.  But that was then and this is now.

For the past several years the Club has dropped its focus on public lands protection in favor of a wild-eyed total commitment to stamping out carbon dioxide.  Your magazine is non-stop promotion of the carbon dioxide theory of global warming.  The protection of our public lands, of ecosystems and wildlife has been dropped in favor of social engineering. The magazine reads like a New Age brochure for eco-fascism.  It is 24-hour-a-day anti-fossil fuel, anti-coal propaganda.  Trying to gussy up such a message with expensive glossy full-color spreads does not hide the fact that impoverishment of our population is now a primary goal for the SC, as it is for the rest of the Washington-based, foundation-funded environmental movement.  The focus on protecting our public lands is gone.

The Sierra Club has joined the other big enviro groups in supporting Barack Obama’s campaign to cover our public lands,especially our desert lands, with expensive windmills and solar electric contraptions.  The technologies you support did not work in the 1970s and they will not work now.  Despite billions in government and utility subsidies over the course of 35 years, these wasteful and destructive technologies now comprise barely one percent of our electricity supply.  Yet the Sierra Club is eager to stamp out coal and your magazine gloats every time another coalplant is shelved, usually through intimidation and threats of reprisals or lawsuits from the Club and its fellow travelers.  It makes me wonder if the Club leadership is so corrupt that it is now willing to benefit the natural gas lobby and the nuclear lobby, because that is where your power will come from if you prevent coal plants.

There is no possibility of providing our population with any real quantity
of electric power with either solar plants or wind farms.  Neither of these
is capable of maintaining an electric grid because the supplies are intermittent.  Electricity is a continuous flow of electrons at a steady rate.  Appliances powered by electricity are designed to function at that rate, no
more and no less, within a very narrow range of variation.  Every time the
wind stops, every time the sun goes behind a cloud, there is a drop in electron flow --- that is, a brownout or blackout.  When the wind gusts up again or the cloud moves off, suddenly there is a power surge.

In an individual situation, a homeowner can work either of these technologies with battery storage, which allows a modulated flow to their appliances,but the large-scale systems that you promote in the desert and elsewhere have no intermediary and are sent directly to the grid, causing a power surge to everyones appliances.  A grid receiving 1% of its power from
these systems can handle the overload or the drop in current.  The kind of
massive development that you promote will so badly jam the grid that blackouts and surges will become the norm.  Pacific Gas & Electric, one of the utilities in California, said that it would accept a 2.5% feed-in of
renewable energy into its grid, but no more than that.  The California Legislature was disappointed at the utilitys opposition and its meagerness, primarily because legislators do not understand electricity.  The legislature was playing to the peanut gallery led by the Sierra Club, not to material reality.

Neither solar nor wind renewables are actually renewable.
  Both require expensive apparatus to produce a meager amount of power.  That apparatus is manufactured in power plants fueled and electrified by fossil fuel.  Most are made in China where there are no restrictions on coal plants and where cheap (slave) labor working with minimal wages and benefits
will enable government-subsidized U.S. or European corporations to turn a profit at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer and ratepayer.

The renewable energy economy is a joke.  Neither solar nor wind produces enough electricity to run the factories where the apparatus
is constructed!  You'll be generating the electricity to run the plants to make the apparatus to generate the electricity to run the plants to make more apparatus, etc. and you'll never get enough electricity
to do anything else like run your appliances or keep yourself warm.  This
is not renewable power.  When the apparatus outlives its
usefulness, it will have to be replaced by another apparatus constructed in
yet another factory run on fossil fuels.  That will continue until there are no more fossil fuels, then there will be no more renewable energy.  Club leadership is living in a fantasy world on this and is misleading the public with this fantasy.Renewable energy
is feel-good massage oil for people who don't have the courage to
deal with the reality of living in the industrial world.

The Obama Administration wants to cover 1000 square miles of our public lands in the desert with these worthless contraptions.  The damage in the desert, our most fragile ecosystem, will be immense.  The Club has actively promoted this program and is perhaps the architect of it.  What is most troubling to me has been the Clubs heavy-handed treatment of its local activists who are still trying to protect the desert in the face of this environmental and economic fiasco.  The Club has openly criticized its local activists for being nimby, it has cut funds for local groups working against destructive solar power in California, it has prevented
local activists from speaking publicly, and it has censored official communications.  This is a direct destruction of the kind of local activism that
gave us the California Desert Protection Act.  In fact some of the same individuals who worked within the Clubs local and regional groups to get the Act passed are persons whom the Club has sought to suppress.  The Sierra Club national governing apparatus has acted in this controversy like an old-style Stalinist Central Committee with an official party line, complete with distortion, threats, intimidation and withdrawal of financial support to activists.  This has been a disgraceful chapter in the Clubs history.

The low point of this trend was a much-touted performance of Club official
Carl Pope at a White House gathering last year.  Is the desert worth more than a luncheon and a chuckle with Michelle Obama?  I think it is.

With its support of the carbon dioxide theory of global warming, the Club has become a one-pony circus in a one-horse town.  Every time it snows, the rest of the nation has to scratch its head about those crazy environmentalists.  I note that no one uses the term global warming any
more, now that the earth has turned cold.  The magic mantra is now
Climate Change.  The Sierra Club and the other Washington lobby
groups don't want the climate to change.  But as they say,
Nature Bats Last.  Mother Nature has other ideas.  And so does
the rest of the nation.

With the recent rejection of Democrats in the U.S. House, the backlash against these policies has begun.  If you are successful in getting coal plants shutdown and solar plants built up, the backlash will take off in a quantum leap forward. No one in Ohio will want to shiver in the dark waiting for the sun to come out so they can have solar electricity for the remaining daylight hours.Not if they are expected to pay five times more for it for a six-hour supply.But the Club apparatus is ready to ride the dead horse of carbon dioxide and solar on into the cold sunset, and to sacrifice our public lands to get that done.

That is why I am quitting the Sierra Club.  You're riding high now,
with Obama still in office, but your brief time in the sun is already past.  It took the Club from 1892 to 2008 to get from gadfly outsider to the pinnacle of power.  It will be an equally long way down from now on.

Steve Tabor”

There you have it folks, read it and weep.

Here is a link to Desert Survivors, Steve Tabor is a founding member of the organization and of special interest to me, also personally hiked the Ivanpah
SEGS site before construction as I and others did.
ivanpahfieldtrip 005
Ivanpah SEGS site soon to be covered with thousands of mirrors and to be desert tortoise free.

I just want to add that it took real courage to do what Mr. Tabor has done here
with this letter, which I am sure has literally “raised the roof” at SC headquarters. Some might wish, that it might have an effect like Samson who
pulled down the pillars holding up the temple….. My own wish is that it will
start a revolution up there in San Francisco, and that it will topple the leadership, and that a real activist, someone along the lines of Mr. Tabor or similar, will pick up the pieces and restore it to the founder’s original vision and intent.

Morongobill

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Renewable energy- the new mantra for the same old greed, avarice, and raping of the planet’s resources.

You think Mother Earth feels any better about the defilement because her
rapists are wearing GREEN CONDOMS
?

I don’t and the greedy rapists aren’t fooling me, you, or the rest of us either.

What has set me off this morning? Go read this article about Harry Reid and
others plans to masticate every pinyon/juniper forest in the whole great state
of Nevada. Then come back over here, I’ll put some coffee on while you’re
gone. And it’ll give me a chance to calm down a little, and avoid offending and
running off any more of my readership.

You know I thought about making the title of this post “What will you do when
the last tree has been biomassed, the last drop of oil is gone, etc and your
lights won’t turn on?” But I figured that would send everybody off screaming and raving like lunatics, and I can’t have that on my head, so the decision was
made to go with this one. But that original idea was and is still a valid one.

In this insane, head long rush to satisfy the carbonmentalists, the bureaucrats,
the investment bankers, and other various and sundry spreadsheet waving harry out there, we now find ourselves in a predicament where the doom- and-
gloom scenario might in fact happen, and maybe sooner than any of us think.

That article I linked to earlier laid out the case for saving the pinyon/juniper
old growth forests, and the sneaky moves planned and schemed about by
those such as Reid and baby Reid who want to eradicate them, to masticate
them, to send their hundreds of years old essence up their damned smoke stacks, to further contribute to the global warming that they claim to want to
stop. You got to hand it to these jackasses, they don’t give up. After suffering
a crushing repudiation at the polls, Reid et al licked their wounds lasciviously
for a few moments and went right back out there back to work shilling for their
real masters, a few of which we now know are Chinese trash companies.
archivecd19 022
This is an example of the type of tree Reid et al want to send to the woodchippers and then burn to power
the lights for your XBOX 360. You think this vista would be as scenic without this hundreds of years old ancient one?

That’s trash as in trashing China’s and anybody else’s lands to try to “save” the environment while really only padding their own pocketbooks, with American dollars- what, don’t you know that this whole boondoggle here will be financed by the taxpayers?

Yes sir, no doubt about it, every where you shine the light of truth, you find
evidence that the crime will really be financed by you and me. Take it to the bank folks. As Willie Sutton said during the Great Depression when he was asked why he robbed banks,that’s where the money is! Our tax money, our implicit guarantees as the ultimate funding mechanism of this so called “of the people” government, are and have been assigned to act as collateral for virtually every last one of these “renewable energy schemes”. That’s right ,schemes and I use that word like Americans do, as in a criminal scheme.

We are just in the beginning stages here of the bubble, it’s good and frothy but still not frothy enough, we have to throw a little more money into the mosh pit to really stir the pot up. For example, like Goldman Sachs now injecting themselves into the California desert land rush in the guise of K Road Solar.

All over the country you see examples- the Cape Wind project is one. The upcoming eradication of the old growth pj forests in Nevada and other western states is another. The ongoing insidious raping of the California deserts is a
particularly egregious example. All this going on with the blessing of the GREAT FATHER in Washington and the LITTLE FATHER’S in the state capitals, as well as being directly and/or indirectly blessed by some of the carbonmentalist and environmental groups, after all, we have to save the planet from carbon buildup, no matter how many carbon sequestering pinyon/juniper tree forests we chew up and burn, or how much carbon sequestering desert soils we have to scrape up, to blow away with the unstopping desert winds.

Have any of these damned geniuses in government ever heard of conservation? Have any of you readers? Do you shut the lights off when you leave the room, or turn down the thermostat at night? Have you switched over to the new compact flourescent light bulbs? Simple little things can make a difference. Economics can make a difference. If you are financially in the position of having one foot in the poor house and one on a banana peel, would that make a change in your behavior? Even our own military is now getting on the conservation and green energy bandwagon. Not to the point of conserving lead however, if you catch my drift. Now even Walmart is jumping on the green bandwagon with rooftop solar being installed in some test stores.

Right now my net connection is on the fritz but I remember reading about a solar company that will put up rooftop solar panels and then later come back and recycle the old equipment, which will cut costs and help with landfill and
environmental issues. It is a fact that some dangerous materials go into the panels, that is an issue that needs to be and is being addressed. It still doesn’t
negate the good which would be done overall if the national policy was one of
”solaring the rooftops” first and foremost, then industrial scale solar on degraded lands, etc. A sensible and cheaper proposal which obviates the need
for the expensive infrastructure required to bring the power in from far away.

But the rooftop solar idea has a big problem. It is a decentralized approach and contrary to everything the utility companies and big government stand for. They are all about concentrated, top down command and control, and the rooftop solar approach is a heresy to them. Considering how big money and influence are totally in control of the political and regulatory process at the moment, it really doesn’t look good right now for home power, no matter the obvious benefits it offers to our needs.

So it seems to me that we are at an impasse right now- each sides needs and wants are not being met by the other, and this may play out just like it looks,
the side with the most power may win.

That is just what I am trying to warn folks about here today. I fear for the future of this small, blue and green orb drifting in space. How long can we keep raping this planet? How long will the average person stand by and let this happen? I think that I have the answer to that question.

Forever, is the answer. Until every last resource has been burned up.

The average person could really care less. Either they are worn down by the Great Recession or they are full fledged card carrying CONSUMERS and they are part and parcel of the process, and absolutely have to have the latest, greatest toys, and must bury the Jones’s much less keep up with them.

So what do we do? Somehow as activists that care about the future of this planet, and you don’t need to be a member of any group to be considered an
activist, we activists need to think about this problem here. This is my take on it.

The government agencies are in bed with the industrialists, there is absolutely
no question about that statement, in my opinion. So are some of the environmental groups, no question about it. The large investment banks are in on the deal. Everybody it seems is all for this destruction of the environment
that is in the beginning stages right now. You understand that I am aware of the fossil fuel industry’s history of environmental degradation, I am referring
to the new paradigm, the new green industry, our saviour.

The politicians are pretty much in on the game as well. Arnold was bought and paid for, at least he acted like it, if he wasn’t. The new governor I am not sure of. He talks a good game about rooftop solar but it also appears that he favors
concentrated solar as well. Seems to me, our side should be lobbying him right now.

To me, the answer that might provide relief relatively quickly, the only one that
seems feasible and with any chance of success will be through the court system. It sure worked for those pushing a civil rights agenda, didn’t it?

God willing, somewhere out there right now, maybe toiling away studying in the law library, is a young man or woman, or a group, of idealistic lawyers to be, that have hiked in the wilderness and love the wilderness, and want to help
protect it, that might want to get involved in the struggle, or perhaps somewhere is a well off individual who cares about the planet and would like
to leave a legacy for those who follow, by getting involved in the legal battles
to come, recognizing the strategic time is now, to kill this idea right now while it is young, that we must destroy, we must sacrifice the best places, for the betterment of future generations, we must destroy America’s best remaining wild places, so that countries abroad can keep pumping out the carbon, and that the rich can get even more rich here, cheering on the destruction here so they can get even better off, and leaving the rest of us behind, mourning the loss forever of the areas eradicated.

The rest of us, need to do what we can in our own way to help, and may I suggest possibly supporting the good groups such as the Western Watersheds Project which has actually just filed suit to stop Ivanpah?

Morongobill

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Way down the trail as the canyon doglegs right, a gnarly old cottonwood awaits your arrival….

Allow me to introduce you to an old and dear friend, Senor Cottonwood.
bigmorongocanyonhike 035

I first made his acquaintance in July of last year, on a very hot summer day, when for some unknown reason, and after throwing caution to the scalding winds, I impetuously decided to hike all the way down the canyon trail from the Big Morongo Canyon Nature
Preserve to where it comes out upon Indian Avenue near the
junction with Hwy 62. What was I thinking?

Hot, sweaty, and running dangerously low on water, I spotted
this tree about the same time as I heard those cottonwood leaves
rattling with the breeze that built up as I approached it. In all my
life, I don’t think I ever welcomed such a sight—this was no mirage
shimmering in the distance, it was real.

As I passed the rock formations to the left of me, that were dwarfed
by the canyon walls rising up above, the insects buzzing around me
hoping to take a drink from my sweaty brow did not distract me
from the totally unexpected image of what at that moment in time, was the single most welcome sight I believe that I have ever seen in my whole life on this planet- a cool and inviting oasis of green in the
distance, leaves waving with purpose and invitation,beckoning for me to come closer.

With alacrity I attempted to obey the command to come nearer, as
footsore as I was, and covered the distance seemingly in just a few
steps to discover with delight, at the base of this huge tree, a large root about 8 inches in diameter perfectly located for sitting on, underneath and in the shade awaiting my arrival, as well as a noisy and persistent bird up above in the branches, loudly and vociferously protesting my being there intruding in his space as I sat my weary self down beneath his lofty perch on that natural “chair” so thoughtfully provided by mother nature.

What a sublime moment! Pulling out my formerly ice cold and full
water bottle, I leaned back and saluted my new friend, naming him
Senor Cottonwood and after thanking him for being there, I gratefully
took a small sip of my remaining precious water and just reveled in the rustling of those myriad leaves in the breeze that miraculously kept blowing the whole time I sat there underneath.

I wish I could say I thought great thoughts, I did not, unless ruminations about the ancient one’s history qualify. The thought did
cross my mind that this tree had seen its’ share of history and change,
and I wondered just how it got its’ very distinctive shape, perhaps the
winds had shaped it over the centuries, whistling down that canyon,
and I marveled at how it had probably been a popular stop for the native people as they made their way up and down the canyon, as this
was a busy thoroughfare in those days, heading down in the winters
and up during the summer.

It also occurred to me that this old and gnarled tree had probably
been home to many, many birds in its’ lifetime as well as other animals such as mountain lions; the thoughts of which brought me out of my philosophical mood and instilled a sense of urgency in me and so I shakily got up from that comfortable spot there under that great big old cottonwood, and saying thank you and God bless you Senor, I
made my way slowly out from under those “so green they hurt my eyes to look at them” rattling leaves into the blistering, glaring desert sun upon which in celebration of my being there, the breeze promptly
stopped blowing, and I continued my hike an additional two miles or
so where I barely made it to the highway with about an inch of hot
water left in my water bottle, and where I, totally exhausted and unable to walk another foot, much less the four miles or so back up the road to Morongo
Valley, stuck my thumb out rather forlornly like the hobo’s of old and amazingly about four cars later, got a ride from a young man all the way up the hill to the village and where I offered him a cold drink of his choice and he suggested I get him and me an Arnold Palmer Half and Half which is half green tea and half lemonade, and I discovered what the true meaning of sublime was, as I had never, ever tasted anything as good as that ice cold, sweat beading on the cold can Arnold Palmer. Wow!

Those of you visiting southern California or already out here, if you
can drag yourselves away from the theme parks for a day, allow me
to suggest that you live a little bit, go a little out of your comfort zone
and head up to the Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve and venture out on that canyon trail going down hill and go see Senor Cottonwood as a favor to yourselves.

I would be truly grateful if some or just one of my readers went to
drop in and introduce themselves to my old friend, and I believe that
such a visit would probably be just what somebody else needs in their
life at this very moment or would provide a memory to last a lifetime,
at the least.

Old Senor Cottonwood has been around for hundreds of years, that I
am sure of, as sure as I am that the sun will come up in the morning
warming up this cold orb, and I believe that this, dare I say, sacred
tree can make one lose all one’s worries of the moment, if one can
make it to the spot underneath, out of the sun and into that shade, sitting there with the canyon rising above you across the trail, at that moment you will finally feel a love for the deserts like some of us feel now, an unrequited love when you are away for any significant period of time, for me that’s measured in days I can count on my fingers, and a feeling of such peace and joy will come over you, similar to experiencing the awe one gets looking out over mile after mile of endless desert mountain ranges unfolding in the distance before you or the feeling one gets when you walk up on a few deer grazing on a trail before you, or watching the raptors endlessly riding the thermal updrafts above you, or coming across a thousand year old creosote growth ring with a striped tail lizard observing you from underneath the shade- you will become a changed person, a change
that you will greet with the emotions of the wide-eyed child we all
were in our youth, before the world and all its’ travails became a part
of our very souls.

Trust me, believe me, it will happen to you, if you will only go and open your heart and mind to nature’s beauty.

Go meet Senor Cottonwood my friends, or meet nature wherever
you can find her. Trust me, there is more to this life than theme parks
and tourist traps. Or computer screens for that matter.

I look forward to meeting up with you one day on the trail, perhaps
we’ll drink a toast to Senor Cottonwood, long may he stand proudly
and patiently there at that dogleg canyon, leaves rustling with an
invitation for tired travelers to drop in and sit for a spell underneath--

Until we meet again, take care and Godspeed.

Morongobill

 

Monday, January 17, 2011

“I know it when I see it”- thoughts on Western Watershed’s filing of a federal NEPA lawsuit over Ivanpah SEGS.

Astute readers will of course remember Justice Potter Stewart’s famous line regarding
a pornography case coming before the United States Supreme Court in 1964, probably the
single most famous quote in that institution’s 200+ year history.

How does that tie in with the Western Watersheds Project decision to file a federal lawsuit
against the federal government, to intervene and attempt to force the federal agencies
involved with the Ivanpah decision, to comply with the NEPA and other federal laws on
the books, and to allow participation in the process by the federal judiciary, a co-equal
branch of our governmental system on the federal and state level? I’ll get to that in a moment.

First, let me thank Chris over at Coyote Crossing for bringing this important news to all our
attention. You can also access the pdf file legal complaint here.

Some of you readers of this blog have probably tired long ago of my railing on this very subject- when would a major environmental group step up to the plate and weigh in on the process with a NEPA lawsuit designed to force compliance with our laws already on the books, laws designed to protect the environment, and to force
federal and state agencies charged by law with this sacred duty, to do just that,to protect this fragile environment that they
are legally obligated to protect.

As you have undoubtedly noted, that fiduciary duty and responsibility was never picked up
by the responsible agencies in any meaningful way, only cheap and meaningless “lip service”
was offered up by those agencies. In other words, cheap words and no real action.

So what ensued was the beginning of a massive energy land rush in the Mojave and
other deserts, similar to the Oklahoma land rush of the end of the 19th century, but instead
of hardy pioneers leading the charge, this time it was the company paid modern day gunslingers- investment bankers and biologists in the lead! And no sheriff around to try to
keep order, every tortoise and badger was on his own! Only a few activists and desert lovers
were around to try to stop this imminent raping of the deserts, since it appeared that the
major environmental organizations did not want to get involved in a real attempt to stop
the industrialists
. I even coined a new name for these missing “environmental” groups- I
called them carbonmentalist groups who were willing to sacrifice the deserts and
other wild places, just so they could say that they were stopping carbon buildup-
never mind the fact that desert soil’s sequester tons and untold tons of carbon, some scientists even saying in amounts rivaling the rain forests.

Yes, none of our words spoken or written mattered a whit to the powers that be, to the BLM’s
and DOI’s and the CEC’s of the world, these “eminence grise” were only concerned with rubber stamping the approval process “for the over-riding state interest to comply with
AB32.” No matter how outrageous the proposals, these bureaucrats were going to find an
over-riding reason to approve, period.

I believe most observers familiar with the events that have occurred would say that is a
masterful understatement of what, in fact, this kangaroo court process of approvals has
resulted in.

Folks, to you newbies and long time back porch readers, as I have said all along, I am just a
bus driver but I used to play a pretty mean game of chess and I understand politics and events as they occur. I am not a lawyer, but like Mr. Justice Potter Stewart, God rest his
soul, I know something when I see it. And though I may not be a learned expert on NEPA
law or the law in general, I can see a rushed, kangaroo type, rubber stamp process for just
what it is now, then, and in the future,a way for a few well heeled members
of the elite, to use other people’s money(the taxpayers) for their money making purposes
without giving the law even a modest fig leaf of consideration, secure in their knowledge
that the carbonmentalist organizations would not do a damned thing to try to stop them.

After all, high muckedy mucks in the carbonmentalist groups helped write the regulations and
rules for the very process, the industrialists felt they were in like Flint with nothing to worry about!

Or so they thought. Well guess what, you would be rapists of the desert- there is a group
out there that cares about the deserts, a real old time environmentalist group, the Western Watersheds Project, and they just made their introduction by slapping you up side the head with a heavy, brief filled legal attache!

Well done, bully! I say.

My only quibble with this is the timing, I wish it had come sooner, speaking only from an
overall strategic view, and not from a legal viewpoint, but that’s a quibble.

And if I haven’t made my point yet in no uncertain terms, here is how I really feel about this news:

                                        HURRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And that’s how I see things out here on the backporch, where the socal desert temperature
was around 80 degrees and nary a heliostatic mirror in sight, at least not yet.

Morongobill

P.s. Shawn just published an article about the lawsuit over at the Mojave Desert Blog, which
I suggest you check out asap. I will also be following with another post on this subject as well
once the euphoria wears off.

 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go- world class customer NO SERVICE!

Below is a cell phone photo of my USB high speed net device purchased online from Virgin Mobile
for $79.99 and free shipping. I first heard about this on the New York Times tech blog or one of their technology articles, and purchased it based upon that glowing recommendation as allegedly the Times
reporter checked the fine print and researched the pricing; at the time, it was about the best deal on the internet.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/02/technology/personaltech/02pogue.html?_r=1

 

01-15-11_1559

After taking them at their word for the 3 months or so I have had this device, that it was unlimited
and yes I confess I used about 6 gig of bandwidth last month, I received this email from Virgin, which I
will show in screen shots here, remember they promised unlimited access at full dsl like speed. I am
having to splice these screen shots to get all on page, actual email cheerfully forwarded to you upon
your request!
ScreenHunter_01 Jan. 16 09.50

2nd part
ScreenHunter_02 Jan. 16 09.53

Now here is an actual screen shot today from their website and the device that they sold me, this is my
device here:
ScreenHunter_03 Jan. 16 09.58

Now here is a screen shot of their plan usage sales pitch:
ScreenHunter_04 Jan. 16 10.03

Looks pretty clear2me- 40$ for 30 days,unlimited usage, now we’ll look at the plan details page:
ScreenHunter_06 Jan. 16 10.06

Pretty straightforward if you ask me, unlimited means unlimited, it doesn’t mean throttling back the speed to penalize power users who had the good sense to buy the best deal on the internet. Note the lack of weasel clauses on the page, there isn’t even a section stating typical legalese like we reserve the right—blah, blah-
and it sounds like a perfect case for a young lawyer looking to start off in the class action lawsuit world.

But here is what got my goat, but good.

Yesterday, when I couldn’t get online, I tried to call their tech support number 6 consecutive times on my cell phone, I was charged for 6 calls. The results of the 6 calls- every time the computer voice said I would be transferred, the system disconnected me. It didn’t matter if I keyed in my account # or not, the result was the same. I believe it was due to the fact that my 30 day usage had expired and they won’t or can’t be bothered by questions from such users. And my question was when exactly did my time expire.

So they have me and other users over the barrel here. You can’t get through to customer service, you’ve already paid 80$ for the device like mine, or 150$ or so for the mifi hotspot, the sole purpose of which is to get you to allow your friends on the network, as far as I can see, and then you cut back the speed when they exceed the 5 gig limit you, the company, self impose after you hook them with the advertising, then you provide as Clark Howard would describe it, world class customer NO service, yes I in fact do think that this is a situation that cries out for legal action and/ or a customer boycott.

Even with all the provocation here, I probably would have taken this except for the fact of the arrogant, world class customer NO service!

And that’s the way I feel about Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go out here on the backporch!

Morongobill

Thursday, January 13, 2011

BrightSource Energy, continuing its’ inexorable expansion plans, and their impending initial public offering, backporch thoughts on the process.

Another day in America, and big news from BrightSource Energy. Word has
gotten out that they are planning to build another of their world (in)famous
concentrated solar tower projects on roughly 3,100 acres near the Cal-Nev
border on the California side, and close to Pahrump, Nevada.

As an afterthought, Pahrump is home to the historic and world famous Chicken
Ranch; oh, how do I put this for my readers with delicate sensibilities, a
place for men and some women to go and “relax” while slaking their
lusts at the same time.
That’s the best description I can give you folks on such
short notice.

Here is a photo of a less well known brothel’s mailbox, that I encountered once
while driving in the desert, out near Amboy.
archivecd18 207

Image provided strictly for the author’s and readers amusement and is not intended to elicit any
kind of anti- social or aberrant behavior.

People allow me to comment that for the first time in a long time, I  am
finally enjoying writing again. My earnest hope is that it will continue. My
fingers are crossed.

By the way, there will be a link at the bottom to the article at the Pahrunp
Valley Times, if you tire of these scribblings and wish to go read some real
writing and news reporting
.

Well you stuck with me, great! Now let’s dig a little deeper and see, as Paul
Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”

First, when you read the article, you will see the BS spokesperson  Keely
Wachs
waxing eloquently about the environmental benefits of this project as
pertains to the land, emphasizing how “The low-impact design retains existing vegetation, land contours and natural features” and uses only around 400 acre-
feet of water a year to clean the mirrors, etc. Great, right?

What isn’t mentioned is how every desert tortoise or badger or mojave
ground squirrel among other animals will be forcibly dug up and translocated, but this time since the project is on private land, the regulations are not as strict.

But at least this time they went to a private landowner and not back to the taxpayers.

How about this for an appealing project name- drum roll please -

HIDDEN HILLS RANCH SOLAR ELECTRIC GENERATION STATION

The images that flow to the mind from that name- creosote, sagebrush, cowboys punching cattle, aermotor windmills turning in the wind blowing down off the mountains and across the plains now covered with heliostatic
mirrors as far as the eye can see, all in giant circles aimed toward central
skyscraper tall receiving towers, looking to capture nature’s bounty from
Apollo the Sun God!

I said it before on this blog quite a few times, BrightSource Energy and its’ management are worthy foes, they started slow, as their main man,
John Woolard, put it and I paraphrase(because I am too lazy this morning
to look up the quote) we move slowly and plan our moves carefully, but
look at the rewards they have reaped and the
absolutely gargantuan rewards they will reap, when soon, at long last, they float the initial public offering, when they finally “go public” as long
ago predicted here, and they and their investment banking buddies on
Wall Street, rake in the dough to the tune of billions of dollars, while we
long suffering tax payers, the saps for whom all these projects are allegedly being done on our behalf, will get
ZIP, NADA, THE BIG FAT ZERO, you got that?

(But we will get higher electric rates for this green energy, more later)

Just remember what the old Morongobill said here today, when you hear the
news soon about the IPO. Don’t forget also about today, when you read about
their big international expansion plans, my guess funded by the overseas governments.

Here is “An inconvenient truth” that you might want to consider.
BrightSource, originally an Israeli company, languished for years in the desert.
They had an idea, a technological idea, one that they couldn’t put into production on a large scale, for economic reasons- namely, why pay top dollar
for expensive renewable energy technology when you can burn oil, coal, or natural gas much cheaper?

But as we know, like sang by the 5th Dimension so many years ago,

From: http://www.musicbabylon.com

When the moon is in the seventh house

And Jupiter aligns with Mars

The peace will guide the planets

And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius”

Several factors all came into play at the same time- concerns about climate
change and global warming led various governments and think tanks to start
agitating for alternative energy production, leading to tax incentives and government provided startup funding, which has gotten the juices flowing in the
investment banking and energy communities, leading to the great energy desert land rush now.

The good news is there are funds available at long last to fund the dreams of
the BrightSource Energy management and others of their ilk, so they can emerge from the desert doldrums like those tiny frogs that exist in a state of
suspended animation deep down in the muck for decades, to reappear alive,
full of vitality, croaking,mating,singing, fighting, as long as the rains(money)
lasts, then die off, leaving the eggs to hatch again, long in the future.

It sounds great, unfortunately unlike those frogs, what will be left will be thousands of square miles of lifeless and denuded land, scraped bare in many places, totally devoid of wildlife and the variety of plants required to attract wildlife, a wasteland, one for our descendants to “enjoy.”

And more bad news. You might recall the mention here that the California Energy Commission doesn’t use a projects economic viability as a factor to
whether it will get approved. Since none of these projects ever got a scintilla of
interest in the past for funding, what in the hell makes them viable today in an economic sense?

I’ll tell you the answer and I’ll keep it simple, stupid as the old saying goes.

These companies have the government to fund the construction costs in a lot
of cases, that’s billions of dollars. They sign long-term contracts with power
companies like SCE or PGE or SDGE
at an undisclosed price which will be a high one and paid for by the ratepayers in the form of higher monthly utility bills, those same ratepayers will also be forced to pay for the multi-billion dollar new transmission lines and upgrades that will be required to move the power hundreds of miles back to the cities- are you finally starting to catch on to the giant scam
that is being perpetrated on your behalf supposedly?

Let me give a final thought, just to toss it out there for your amusement.

The Sierra Club recently filed a law suit in state court to try to stop the solar
”farm” near Calico, the one the ill-fated stirling engines were to be placed on.
Can you imagine what effect such a lawsuit would have had if one had been
filed to stop the BSE’rs at Ivanpah? I bet the gnashing of teeth and wailing would have been heard all the way to Ivanpah, from Oakland and Wall Street!

And it would have been a more strategic move, striking at the heart of the industrialists, at the right time, to derail their plans to rape the mojave desert.

Sigh, what might have been.

Go here to read about the latest BS project.

Morongobill