Tuesday, September 27, 2011

End of the line?

It is becoming obvious to all that this blog is not being updated with any
regularity so I am putting it into a posting hiatus.

If something of interest occurs, I will write about it, but probably not as often as now. I enjoy writing when I have the time or energy, especially commenting
on other blogs or news stories, more so than here.

I still would like to set up a desert site where blogging would only be a small part, we will see how it goes. One with trip reports and chock full of photos.

There is a search function on this page, for example searching for Westlands
Solar Park as a search term will yield a couple of hits. BrightSource Energy,
a substantial number of hits.

Some folks are visiting this site daily, I thank you for coming, but you might want to check in weekly for a while.

To get your desert fix, I strongly recommend you click on the links on the left side of this page, for the very latest on what’s happening in the fight to save the
southwestern deserts from being covered with wind turbines and solar panels.

Morongobill

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A letter to the BLM from the former superintendent of Anza- Borrego Desert State Park regarding the proposed Ocotillo Express Wind Turbine Project.

Here is an open letter from a person very knowledgeable and experienced who is opposing this renewable energy project.

It is one thing for me to go on about the damage caused by these projects, being an amateur and a bus driver, and quite another when someone of gravitas, and with a lifetime of knowledge working in the effected area, weighs
in.

The only editing by me was to delete the writer’s address in the heading.

Here is the letter, otherwise in its’ entirety:

Mr. Cedric Perry, Project Manager
U. S. Bureau of Land Management
22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos
Moreno Valley, CA 92553
Mark Jorgensen


September 22, 2011
SUBJECT: Draft DEIS, OCOTILLO EXPRESS WIND PROJECT
Mr. Cedric Perry:
Thank you for the opportunity to voice my deep concerns on the Ocotillo
Express Wind Turbine Project, proposed by BLM and Pattern Energy.
I recently retired as the Superintendent of Anza-Borrego Desert State
Park. I worked for State Parks at Anza-Borrego since 1972, studying
desert bighorn sheep, working as a State Park Ranger, Park Naturalist,
Resource Ecologist, Environmental Scientist, and for the last eight
years of my career, the Park Superintendent.
I am astounded the Ocotillo Express Wind Project has been proposed in
this location, with total disregard for the natural and cultural
resources of our desert.
BLM has the mandate to protect our public lands, and in this case I
believe your agency has failed us. Under the California Desert
Conservation Plan, BLM designated the area as “Limited Use”, meaning
vehicles are restricted to existing trails. This was determined after
years of public input and review. Now, here is a proposal to destroy
13,000 acres of our public lands for a private industrial investment
zone. This site will be desecrated, but so will hundreds of thousands of
acres of surrounding lands with their viewshed qualities destroyed.
So, we Americans are being asked to give Pattern Energy 13,000 acres of
our precious land. Why is BLM advocating for a private company, and not
for the protection of lands it’s legally obligated to manage? What will
we citizens get out of this deal? Discounted electrical rates? Private
industry taking over our land, producing energy, and we will be paying
some of the highest electrical rates in the Nation, thanks to SDG&E,
Pattern Energy, and our own BLM.
I read the environmental impact documents to see how this project would
affect the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, only yards from the project,
with a common boundary of more than five miles. What a surprise to find
Anza-Borrego’s impacts had not even been considered in the development
of this proposal. No detailed analysis—not a single Key Observation
Point considered for visual impacts! The State Park had to make critical
comments on previous drafts in order to have KOP’s within the Park
analyzed—and then only when the Park staff did all the work. Why did the
BLM not consider impacts to the largest State Park in the contiguous
United States? What of the newly designated Cultural Preserve at Piedras
Grandes, just west of Ocotillo Express? Was there any consideration
given to this Sacred Site? What of the wildlife corridors? What of the
desert bighorn sheep?
I stood just inside Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and tried to imagine
the sea of 450’ tall steel towers looming above me. What I saw was an
IRON CURTAIN, a massive industrial mega-complex conceived by some
money-hungry mongers from another world. BLM sanctions this proposal?
Who is BLM representing here, the citizens of the United States, or
Pattern Energy? From what I observed at the “Open House” in Ocotillo, it
certainly is clear BLM is a partner of the private developer, Pattern
Energy, and not the citizens.
In reading the Wildlife Impacts Section of the Document I considered the
impacts to the desert bighorn sheep, which I have studied here since
1967. I found it convenient that the USF&WS had just recently
Undesignated a huge swath of Critical Habitat in this region, just in
time for the Ocotillo Express to be able to state their project is not
within Critical Habitat. So much for the Endangered Species Act.
Mitigation for bighorn sheep? How about NOT building wind turbines
within bighorn habitat, or within wildlife movement corridors?
What of the 14 FTHL’s observed on-site, which means there are actually
many more? What of the golden eagles which use this desert site for
foraging ? An average of sixty golden eagles are killed each year at the
Altamont Pass Wind Generation site, near San Jose. SIXTY a year!! It
takes 10-20% of all the golden eagle nests in CA to supply that sixty
birds killed in one wind generator project! What of the CA Condors being
restored in N. Baja? One was documented traveling into the US, as far as
Cuyamaca and Anza-Borrego. What of the 16 burrowing owls, and the W.
Mastiff Bats, both listed as BLM Sensitive Species? BLM should be
ashamed of approving this environmental document for public release.
The analysis results in a wildlife monitoring system to take care of
wildlife concerns----So, they’re going to monitor the death of countless
birds species, monitor all the dead bats, pick up the dead golden
eagles, Swainson’s hawks, burrowing owls, and peregrine falcons?---at
least we’ll know how many were killed in this travesty of “Green
Energy”. I call it RED Energy, for all the bloodshed it will be
responsible for. The radar based “early warning system” is a ridiculous
excuse for monitoring bird movements in the region, as is the
“observation tower staffed by a professional biologist”. How can one
person stationed in an observation tower possibly watch over 13,000
acres? The observer cannot see birds, even large raptors, from across
the project landscape. These are tactics created to appease the critics,
rather than provide a measure of safety for wildlife of the area.
About 155 wild turbines are now proposed for this project. According to
sources it is estimated that 6-7% of all energy sent into a 500Kv
powerline such as the Sunrise Powerlink is lost in transmission. This
means that 6% of all the energy generated by the wind turbines will be
wasted---their electrical generation lost on the trip to SD---sparking
into space, or someone’s backyard. Energy generated by nine wind
turbines, built at huge expense will be wasted---forever…….How many
acres will they cover, how many birds will they kill in their 30 year life?
This is yet another vote for not building Ocotillo Express, and putting
the money and energy into rooftop solar power generation where it will
be used---in the city.
The “Public Meeting” sponsored in August 2011 in Ocotillo was not really
a public meeting, but an “Open House”. I received a press release
entitled, “Public Meeting”. Public testimony was not accepted, or
welcome. The BLM staff and representatives of Pattern Energy made it
easy on themselves that night, not having to answer questions in public,
or having to listen to testimony of the 75 members of the public who
were prepared to offer their opinions in the public forum. I found this
meeting a waste of my time and gas, in that I drove 170 miles round-trip
to attend. We, the members of the public, were offended by this sham of
a public meeting.
We moved to this desert because we love it. We fight to protect it.
Energy should be developed in the regions where it will be consumed, not
hundreds of miles away and then wastefully transported into the cities.
This project is an insult to us, and I hope this IRON CURTAIN,
mega-industrial complex never exists.
Sincerely,
Mark C. Jorgensen, Borrego Springs, CA

Thanks to Mr. Jorgensen for putting his views on the record opposing this
project, and for also highlighting the “public meeting” process, which is to
the BLM’s way of thinking, we will tell you what we are going to do, and you
will just sit there and listen.

Morongobill

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Almost over did it yesterday at Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve hike.

What a difference one year and no recent hiking made yesterday! The plan was
to drive up to Morongo Valley and hike an hour or so, then come back to Orange County.

On the way up I passed by the new solar farm that I mentioned on these pages
in August. Here are a couple of photographs taken yesterday, one looking toward the farm, and then the view looking toward the opposite direction.
09192011bigmorongohike 001

And the view behind me, showing other renewable energy development.
09192011bigmorongohike 003

This project is located close to the junction of Hwy 62 and Dillon Road.

So anyhow, I continued up the mountain and made it to the BMCNP, and
managed to walk into my own private totally empty canyon at 0918. I am
not kidding, this place was deserted which is just the way I like it! I decided to
make the day a round trip hike of around 4 miles to visit Senor Cottonwood
who is at the 2 mile trail marker down the canyon.

I was a man on a mission, and didn’t spend too much time looking at my surroundings, but I did manage to walk upon several juvenile jackrabbits, who
better gain a healthy fear of possible predators quickly, or else.
09192011bigmorongohike 004

Another.
09192011bigmorongohike 005

There also was a very interesting chance to photograph the moon against
the backdrop of the canyon walls towering above as well. Unfortunately, I only
had my little digicam with me, and this was about the best shot of the bunch.
09192011bigmorongohike 009

That was taken with maximum zoom.

When I finally made it to my old friend, Senor Cottonwood, I discovered that there was absolutely no shade to be found from the 98 degree or so sun.
09192011bigmorongohike 012

I just love this gnarly ancient cottonwood, the stories he could tell from the hundreds of years of his life, guarding
this jackleg turn in the canyon!

Actually there was some shade along the rock walls as I approached the cottonwood tree, and I availed myself of this shade for a couple of minutes while I made the fateful decision to not go back up the trail the two miles back to my car, but to continue the 2 1/2 additional miles to trail’s end at Indian Avenue, where I would have to either hitch hike or failing that, to walk back the 5 miles uphill to my car.

I chose to continue on as my legs and feet felt up to it.

Big mistake, within a half mile, my feet,knees, and hip joints were bugging me
due to the softer sand and rocks of the trail, combined with my wore out hiking shoes, and the heat which suddenly became more oppressive along with my water which was now hot, instead of being slightly cool. Nothing like drinking hot water on a hot desert hike to make your day. As usual, no planning went into this, I could have bought some sports drinks and froze them overnight, which by the way is extremely satisfying on a hot desert hike, but that’s me- no
planning just wake up energetic and go!

It took about two and a half hours or so but I did make it to Indian Avenue where I stuck out my shaky thumb and lucked out, getting picked up by the very first vehicle coming by. Turns out my saviour was going to be a contestant in a road bike race up near Bishop in a day or so, and he knew the canyon trail,
so we had a good visit.

Once I got out in MV at the roadside deli, I purchased a Bob Marley iced tea and lemonade, which has no caffeine and also contains herbs that relax you,
drank it sitting in the shade, and then hobbled painfully the 6/10 of a mile from there to my car at the preserve parking lot.

From there, I headed home.

Amazingly after a good nights sleep, my legs while still stiff, are much better, and I feel much more energetic and not as down as I have been recently, you see folks, as I have said many times, going to the wilderness clears your mind, going to a totally empty wilderness is that much better, at least for me it is, I recommend highly that you visit the Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve, do it on a weekday, bring your camera and binoculars, as it is one of the foremost birding sites in this country, enjoy this show that nature puts on just for you, or so it seems when you are immersed in it, skip the theme parks for a day to see the original one, still available virtually unspoiled after all that has went on in the deserts recently, and one that will remain unspoiled thanks to local residents who rose up against the plan to despoil it, by running massive power
towers and lines, slap dab down the middle of this wonderful canyon- go now.

Anyway that’s it, that’s what I did yesterday.

Morongobill

 

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Reverend Jeremiah Wright discusses President Obama with Chris Hedges at Truthdig.

This interview can be read here.

The title of the piece is “

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright Recalls Obama’s Fall From Grace”

You will of course remember our president distancing himself from his long time friend and pastor, the man who married him and Michelle, as well as the one who baptized their two daughters.

It was a long, agonizing affair which culminated in a speech about race relations, etc. This interview, as Paul Harvey used to say, tells the rest of the story.

I have often thought about this incident, but never really knew the details leading up to the break between the two friends, and about the fiery sermon that was the purported reason for the pastor’s fall from (White House) grace, the infamous “God damn America” sermon.

Here is a long excerpt from that sermon and another one as well.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright, former pastor to the president, excerpts from two famous sermons.

After listening to this a few times tonight, I can’t find fault with Reverend
Wright’s sermons, or the conclusions drawn. I can find fault with our president though for deserting his friend, leaving him twisting in the media windstorm that ensued.

Morongobill

Sunday, September 18, 2011

An interesting video discussion comparing today to the 1930’s.

Jobless Men Keep Going!

Just a little video for your Sunday.

Some of the talking heads, it seems, get it.

Morongobill

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Clearing out the deadwood, and a new approach.

Two of my blogging efforts have been dispatched to the rubbish bin, good riddance. This one may join them in the round file, if my mood doesn’t improve.

The good thing about the title of this blog, the backporch, is you can pretty much talk about anything here, just like on a real porch. This site served as a home for my rants against the B.S.’ers for a long time- first time visitors I am
referring to BrightSource Energy, a company that along with Bechtel is rapidly transforming a desert wilderness into a desert wasteland, but I digress- as well
as various political and economic thoughts, etc.

I am bored and tired of city life here and it has spilled over into these pages.

What I need is a big change and it can start with a visit to the desert or mountains, of course I have to work four more days- I need a real attitude change as well.

As bad as this will sound, the desert is done in my opinion. Stick a fork in it, it
is done. I am trying to be realistic here, no more pep talks to myself, getting real as they say nowadays. D-O-N-E.

I ain’t wasting no more of my precious time trying to change something that can’t be changed, referring mainly to people’s minds, you see it took a long time to sink in, that the average person today, as in previous times, just doesn’t give a damn about the desert. It is a place to race through on the way to Vegas, or somewhere you go off roading, or someplace you sneak off to dump your trash, hell, society as a whole uses the desert for everything from dumping garbage to nukes!

I have f---ing had it with trying to change hearts and minds. If you don’t agree with me, great! Like Sisyphus, keep rolling that rock uphill, then watch it roll back down right over you. No more for me. The deal is done, the fix is in, and as I have said all along, some insiders in the so called environmental movement can get a great share of the blame for it, not that anybody else in the environmental movement gives a damn, they are too busy trying to get on the climate change bandwagon before it leaves the station.

I am not aiming this vitriol at any of my fellow bloggers who are still involved in fighting the good fight, despite the odds, paying the financial costs by now being on the outside of the new mainstream environmental groupthink now
forming, that something must be sacrificed to stop climate change, and that thing is our desert wilderness.
I salute those brave souls who care enough to continue the fight despite the costs to themselves for doing so, and
am honored that some actually carried my blog feed, a generous gesture, much appreciated by me.

As I mentioned on my now deleted Save the Mojave blog, I would like to devote
my time to documenting the desert as it remains now before the forces of the
industrialists completely steamroll their way through the remaining Mojave Desert. I am only one man, of modest means, and asked then and now for
your help. If, in your travels you pass through an unspoiled section and take a few pics, feel free to send some to me, and I will publish them here with proper
credit being given to you. Feel free to write trip reports, same thing. If you would like to set up a blog about it, email me and I will help.

I am not pissed off with you readers, it is with the greedy elites that my problem is with. I don’t have the skill set or ability to make or effect any sort of change, but I can help document what will be lost—and so can you.

Sorry for the rant.

Morongobill

 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Of chickens coming home to roost here one day.

A few minutes ago, I surfed over to Chris Floyd’s blog to read the following
article:
He Who Gets Slapped: The Progressive Perpetuation of Past and Present Evil

I also clicked on the link for the flash presentation:
http://www.chris-floyd.com/isahaqi/

You need to steel yourselves before watching this short presentation or reading
the article in the top link. This is as graphic as anything that I have seen in my
whole life, which includes seeing a mother and her six children lying dead on the Manchester Expressway in Columbus, Georgia many years ago when I was but a child myself.

My heart is hurting real bad after watching this, I commented in anger about
the barbarism inflicted upon this family, that I could not watch the whole thing,
I did finish it though.

I really don’t care what a certain few may think about this act that occurred in this video; I know what I think and feel about it, and I think a war crime occurred, one that has been swept under the rug, forgotten, and no one will ever suffer any punishment for what went down that awful night in 2006.

All I can hope is that one day the evil perpetrators of this massacre get what is coming to them, that what goes around, comes around.

That is my fervent wish this evening and I don’t give a damn who knows it.

Morongobill

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The silence of the Carbonmentalist lambs.

Do you hear the bleating of the lambs at night, Clarise? My how they bleat.

I see that the big news with the environmental carbonmentalist movement
are the daily arrests out along the White House fence, as renowned environmental carbonmentalist activists such as Bill Mckibbon get gently
handcuffed and taken away, to the applause of their followers.

(The sound of one hand clapping from the backporch.)

These folks are protesting the building of a pipeline which will run from the
Canadian oil tar sands, down through this country, ending in the Gulf region
I believe. Their protests, in their minds I am sure, are a noble albeit Quixotic
endeavor, one that will change very few minds in the power structure, but that
may pay real dividends in the form of new members and donations flowing into
the organizations that they are involved with, such as Mckibbon’s 350.org.

That’s all fine and dandy, but I would like to bring to my readers attention one fact- to the carbonmentalists the Holy Grail is fighting climate change, and
some must sacrifice so that the planet can be saved from the change, and
the deserts of the world must be doing the sacrificing.

Where were these same folks when the bulldozers were about to be fired up at
Ivanpah and Blythe? What about when California’s own Serengeti, the Carrizo
Plain, gets its 2 gigantic solar farms that are planned and on the way? Will they
be there to try to stop the destruction?
image

Above is a vista from California’s Serengeti, the Carrizo Plain, soon to be home to thousands of solar panels.

Here is the simple answer, no!

Here is how I can predict that with such authority- one need look no further than the events that occurred prior to the solar farms being built here in California;all you need to know is how certain long time environmental carbonmentalist activists, well known with pedigrees as long as your arm, and highly placed within the established “old lion” environmental groups, specifically the NRDC and the Sierra Club, worked hand in hand with the renewable energy industry, and state and federal government agencies, to help
write and institute the very regulations and procedures now being used
by the renewable energy folks to pave over so many square miles of pristine desert ecosystem
.

And nobody cares.

No sir, the carbonmentalist lambs were silent then. And they are silent now. My
guess is they are going to continue their silence.

But they are going to milk this tar sands pipeline issue for all it’s worth. They
are going to wring the teats on that milk cow until they are bone dry. Then
they’ll move on to their next cause celebre.

In the meantime, of course, unnoticed except by a few activists and fellow desert lovers, the raping and pillaging of the southwestern deserts will continue, at a faster pace, resulting in the industrialization of those deserts at
a logarithmic scale, and destroying these last remaining wilderness ecosystems for all time; I will take a liberty here and assert that damage lasting
thousands of years equates to for all time, damage that will carry on for a hundred generations in human terms, and help further damage this planet.

The Mojave has been a lot of things to a lot of different people. It helped support the native american tribes for thousands of years- and still does- it
was home to mining operations, attempts at farming, cattle ranching, garbage dumps, nuclear bomb tests, you name it has been done- but nothing will cause
the eternal damage like these new solar and wind farms will.
021311mnptrip 016

Just a reminder that our Governor Jerry Brown recently remarked that the desert tortoises will have shade(under the
solar panels), no mention was made that a)the tortoises are fenced out and b) look up in that photo, do you see any food
in that picture? God, what a jackass that guy is!

This damage, these eye sores, most of which will probably not withstand the ravages of the desert sun, wind, and sand, will have a long lasting effect- especially on the plant and animal species that now thrive there, or are attempting to make a comeback, species such as the desert tortoise- now you know who not to listen to or to send a donation to, the next time these carbonmentalist organizations send you a pitch letter- just pitch it, right into the
trash can.

Remember, someone or something must be sacrificed to save the planet
from the ravages of global warming and climate change, the carbonmentalists
have made good and damned sure that it will be the deserts.

“baaaaaaa, baaaaaaaaa.”

The silence of the carbonmentalist lambs as the desert gets raped, is truly overwhelming.

Morongobill

Thursday, September 1, 2011

So you been working and acquired some seniority and make more money than most? You better read this post.

Good luck, for you are about to be well and truly screwed.

A real pay cut is in your future if the bosses have their way. How much of
a cut? Let’s just say be prepared to get by on what someone with 2 years on the job makes.

You say they can’t do it? You think that they wouldn’t dare to take such a drastic step? You feel like that would be so bad for morale that the bosses won’t do it?

I understand why you might think that, as that is the way it has been since the New Deal. The advantages gained by older and experienced workers are so
obvious that I am not even bothering to list them. In addition, management types nowadays, fresh from business schools seem to know it all, and wouldn’t
listen to reason anyway.

A prominent business consulting firm to the Fortune 500 companies has finally found the Holy Grail of cost saving measures, they have finally dared to think the unthinkable, and have concluded that by big business cutting pay to senior workers, to achieve parity with 2 year workers, the big corporations can
slash their labor costs another 15-20%!

I am not making this stuff up folks. Go read the link below:

A Tip for Joe the Machinist: Watch Your Back

I don’t know how much more of this shit sandwich we working folks are expected to eat. And don’t forget that after eating the shit sandwich, we are expected to bow and scrape, do a Stepin Fetchit routine, thanking Massa
for that shit sandwich we could barely gag down.

I don’t know about you readers, but I am about ready to tell Massa to stick that
damned shit sandwich where the sun don’t shine, you dig?

Enough of my feelings, what are the chances that this could happen nowadays
in this Great Recession? Pretty damned good in my opinion.

Who is going to stop them? Union membership is down to around 8 or 9% of
the workforce, they are on the run, from the republicans and blue dog democrats, and the old divide and conquer strategy is working just as well as it always has worked for the elites of this nation. You think the average person is going to say anything on someone else’s behalf? Ain’t gonna happen, folks.

If you are a working man or woman, I would like you to get up now from your computer and walk over to a mirror- go ahead, I’ll wait- what do you see?

The new American slave class, that’s exactly what you are looking at, a slave
putting in his and her time, making the bosses rich, with no future except a life of hard work ahead, and getting paid very little for doing it. The game is rigged
and there is no hope of changing the rules, not with bought and paid for legislators, judges, and presidents and governors.

Unless the people wake up from their tv induced slumber and take real notice of what is going on, and have the courage to act, this society and nation is doomed- a nation of  obscenely rich parasites, being supported by hundreds of millions of slaves and serfs- is that a place you want to live in?

Welcome to modern day Amerika, is this a great country or what?

Morongobill