Saturday, February 28, 2009
Sheriff’s investigators said the body of Maureen Dolores Gamache was found at about 3:22 p.m. by a hiker who called emergency dispatchers. The woman’s body was found about three miles from the trailhead.
No cause of death has been determined. Investigators do not suspect foul play in the woman’s death. The investigation is waiting for results of the medical examiner’s findings.
My condolences to her friends and family.
The person who fell to his death from Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park has been identified as Dave Brigham, 48, of Sussex, New Jersey.My condolences to his friends and family.
The body was discovered at the base of the Great Arch by a National Park Service search team at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, February 26. Brigham fell approximately 400 feet to his death from Canyon Overlook into Pine Creek Canyon.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Elections have consequences. President Obama’s new budget represents a huge break, not just with the policies of the past eight years, but with policy trends over the past 30 years. If he can get anything like the plan he announced on Thursday through Congress, he will set America on a fundamentally new course.
The budget will, among other things, come as a huge relief to Democrats who were starting to feel a bit of postpartisan depression. The stimulus bill that Congress passed may have been too weak and too focused on tax cuts. The administration’s refusal to get tough on the banks may be deeply disappointing. But fears that Mr. Obama would sacrifice progressive priorities in his budget plans, and satisfy himself with fiddling around the edges of the tax system, have now been banished.
Read it all.
BUDAPEST (Reuters) - The world faces a final opportunity to agree an adequate global response to climate change at a U.N.-led meeting in Copenhagen in December, the European Union's environment chief said on Friday.
World leaders from about 190 countries meet in Copenhagen in December to try to agree a global framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol on fighting global warming, which expires in 2012.
"It is now 12 years since Kyoto was created. This makes Copenhagen the world's last chance to stop climate change before it passes the point of no return," European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told a climate conference in Budapest on Friday.
"Having an agreement in Copenhagen is not only possible, it is imperative and we are going to have it," Dimas said.
With greenhouse gas emissions rising faster than projected, Dimas said it was essential that big polluters such as the United States and emerging economies in the Far East and South America also sign up for an agreement. "President Obama's commitment to re-engage the United States fully in combating climate change is an enormously encouraging sign that progress is possible. So are positive initiatives coming from China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies."
This is going to happen in our lifetime. Not our children's lifetime, ours.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits increased to a seasonally adjusted 667,000 in the week ended Feb. 21 from a revised 631,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said. It was the highest reading since October 1982, when claims reached 695,000.
The year-long U.S. recession has savaged the labor market and sent the unemployment rate soaring, with some economists fearing it will pierce 9 percent in 2009 from 7.6 percent in January and mount further next year.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's budget includes hundreds of billions of dollars in revenues from a greenhouse gas emissions trading system, an administration official said on Wednesday.
The revenues from the system would be spread out over many years starting in 2012, the official said.
Obama wants to help fight climate change by capping emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, or CO2, from big industries and allowing them to trade rights to pollute. Such systems are commonly called "cap and trade."
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
LONDON (Reuters) - Increases in the amount of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere accelerated last year, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) told Reuters on Wednesday.
The new data may dampen hopes that a slowdown in industrial output and carbon emissions, which started at the end of last year, will temporarily deflect climate change.
Some analysts had hoped that recession would give the world breathing space to reverse its impact on the climate. The new NOAA data showed that levels of carbon dioxide accelerated slightly last year.
"For us to see (the impact) in the atmosphere it would take a large drop in emissions, but it hasn't happened yet and that's very clear from this data," said Thomas Conway, a NOAA climate scientist who helped compile the figures.
Even with the recession and high gas prices that led to less driving, emissions went up. It is going to be an interesting couple of decades.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Reporting from Sacramento -- Could Cannabis sativa be a salvation for California's fiscal misfortunes? Can the state get a better budget grip by taxing what some folks toke?
An assemblyman from San Francisco announced legislation Monday to do just that: make California the first state in the nation to tax and regulate recreational marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.
Buoyed by the widely held belief that cannabis is California's biggest cash crop, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano contends it is time to reap some state revenue from that harvest while putting a damper on drug use by teens, cutting police costs and even helping Mother Nature.
"I know the jokes are going to be coming, but this is not a frivolous issue," said Ammiano, a Democrat elected in November after more than a dozen years as a San Francisco supervisor. "California always takes the lead -- on gay marriage, the sanctuary movement, medical marijuana."
Ammiano's measure, AB 390, would essentially replicate the regulatory structure used for beer, wine and hard liquor, with taxed sales barred to anyone under 21.
He said it would actually boost public safety, keeping law enforcement focused on more serious crimes while keeping marijuana away from teenagers who can readily purchase black-market pot from peers.
The natural world would benefit, too, from the uprooting of environmentally destructive backcountry pot plantations that denude fragile ecosystems, Ammiano said.
But the biggest boon might be to the bottom line. By some estimates, California's pot crop is a $14-billion industry, putting it above vegetables ($5.7 billion) and grapes ($2.6 billion). If so, that could mean upward of $1 billion in tax revenue for the state each year.
14 states have a medical marijuana bill or have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana. However, California is the only state that permits the growing and sales of medical marijuana. If California starts to collect a large amount of tax, other states will be interested. Prohibition of alcohol was ended during the great depression because the nation could no longer afford to enforce those laws. Perhaps this depression will end the prohibition of alcohol.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Watermelon shippers are adding labels so you can tell where your melon came from.
Other watermelon growers using HarvestMark include Coosaw Farms, Grower’s Select, Melon 1, Mouzin, Premier and Sun State. Today, nearly 150 million produce products have been enabled with HarvestMark traceability, from berries and tomatoes to watermelons and peppers and more.
More major watermelon shippers will begin offering retailers and consumers the ability to obtain item- and case- level traceability information via YottaMark, Inc.’s HarvestMark solution for its entire watermelon shipment in 2009.
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Melon 1, Texas-based Borders Melon Co. and Georgia-based Borders Melons East have are the latest companies to join the expanding list of watermelon growers and shippers implementing HarvestMark for the 2009 harvest season.
I guess their will be an individual number you on the fruit sticker that you can put into a website so you can tell what farm it came from. I wish more companies would employ this kind of labeling. All it really takes is a couple of computers and stickers. And there are allready stickers with lots of information on most fruits now.(How to read stickers)
The $500 fee reflects the cost for employees who have already gone home to come back and drive the 19 miles up the mountain, fighting fierce night-time winds and sometimes snow. If they have to plow or call in more people, the fee could be higher.
Under a fee schedule the council will vote on Tuesday, hikers who call for a ride before workers have gone home would pay $100 each, and hikers who ask for transport from one location to another, such as from the summit to Glen Cove, during regular hours will be charged $20 each.
Glavan said highway rangers and employees aren't trying to become taxis, but they need a fee schedule to get reimbursed from the increasing number of hikers who apparently get summit fever and find themselves high and dry, which happened to five people last year.
Those do not seem like unreasonable fees to me.
Some thoughts on fees for rescue. Too many people are going into the back country with there cell phones, gps, and other high tech gizmo's thinking that stuff will save them. Instead of relying on what used to be common sense. I do not hike with a cell phone as a crutch. Nor do I carry a phone at all. Rangers are compaining about this phenomonon all the time. I like too call it the "I'm too little, I'm to tired phenomonon."
Most municipalities have search and rescue teams and budget for this. If you really need a rescue and are not doing something dangerous or stupid you should not be charged for the rescue. However, that does not give you a get out of fees card. If you require hospitalization or an ambulance ride, you should pay for those services. Also, if a municipality has a problem with the I'm Too little, I'm too tired crowd, they should be allowed to charge. They should also, make it known at trail heads and at outdoor stores in the area. And now a story.
This is a question that I have discussed in many a shelter on the Appalachian Trail over the years. I remember one guy arguing that if the park service charges $5,000 to rescue someone, they might not call and die. Heck, if you do not think your life is worth $5,000, I do not want you in the gene pool. Another hiker proclaimed, I won the Darwin award for that comment.(That was before these Darwin Awards)
But something was very, very different in the fourth quarter of 2008. Sales of alcohol for off-premises consumption were down by 9.3 percent from the previous quarter, according to the Commerce Department. This is absolutely unprecedented: the largest previous drop had been just 3.7 percent, between the third and fourth quarters of 1991.
Beer accounts for almost all of the decrease, with revenues off by almost 14 percent. Wine and spirits were much more stable, with sales volumes declining by 1.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.
Nate wonders if we have substituted cheap foreign(Bud, Coors, Miller are all foreign owned) beers for good wholesome American beer. It turns out real American beer drinkers are still drinking microbrews.
Americans may be cutting back their expenses to weather the turbulent economy, but they’re still drinking their craft beer.
As most other business segments contend with negative growth, craft beer makers - small, independent and traditional brewers that produce less than 2 million barrels per year - are enjoying slowed but still-strong sales increases and outperforming the beer industry as a whole.
While craft brewers have seen slowdowns in the volume of their beer consumed at restaurants and bars, business has picked up at the packies as more people spend their free time at home to save money.
Massachusetts-based brewers such as Boston Beer Co., Harpoon Brewery and Cisco Brewers say they’re also benefiting from consumers trading down to their brews from more expensive wines and liquor.
“In boom times, we might be envying our friends in financial services, but they’re now envying us,” said Dan Kenary, cofounder and president of Harpoon Brewery in Boston. “Beer is a staple. You might not be able to go out and spend $75 on dinner, but you can go out and spend $8 or $9 on a six-pack.”
Craft brewers saw a 5 percent volume increase in barrel shipments to 9.5 million in 2008, following two years of 12 percent jumps, according to industry publication Beer Marketers Insights. Imported beer, meanwhile was down about 2.5 percent last year, and the overall domestic industry was up 1.1 percent.
Boston Beer the largest American brewery expects sales to increase this year too. Founder Jim Koch, “I expect the economy will (stink), and people will continue drinking good beer.”
Sunday, February 22, 2009
New research has revealed that melt-water pooling on the Arctic sea ice is causing it to melt at a faster rate than computer models had previously predicted.
Scientists have been struggling to understand why the northern sea ice has been retreating at a faster rate than estimated by the most recent assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in 2007.
The IPCC's computer models had simulated an average loss of 2.5% in sea ice extent per decade from 1953 to 2006. But in reality the Arctic sea ice had declined at a rate of about 7.8% per decade.
Arctic sea ice has retreated so much that in September 2007 it covered an all-time low area of 4.14m km sq, surpassing by 23% the previous all-time record set in September 2005.
And during the summer of 2008, the north-west and north-east passages - the sea routes running along the Arctic coastlines of northern America and northern Russia, normally perilously clogged with thick ice – were ice-free for the first time since records began in 1972.
Part of the reasons for the discrepancy has to do with melt ponds, which are pools of melted ice and snow that form on the sea ice when it is warmed in spring and summer. As they are darker than ice and snow, they absorb solar radiation rather than reflect it, which accelerates the melting process.
The climate crisis is happening now. In 2006, scientists were predicting ice free Arctic summers by 2050. In 2008, the prediction was for ice free Arctic summers by 2030. The crisis is moving exponentially. It is going to be an interesting couple of decades.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
A jaguar was caught and released in Arizona.
PHOENIX (Reuters) - An extremely rare jaguar has been captured and fitted with a satellite tracking collar by researchers in Arizona, who hope to shed light on the habits of one of the United States' most elusive predators.
Arizona Game and Fish Department officials caught the male cat Wednesday in a rugged area southwest of Tucson during a study to better understand bear and mountain lion habitat.
Jaguars roam over a vast area ranging from northern Argentina in the south to the rugged borderland wildernesses of Arizona and New Mexico, where they were thought to have vanished until two confirmed sightings in 1996.
Only a handful have ever been sighted in the United States since then, and very little is known about their habits.
I think it is realyy cool that the large cats are still around. We have been working very hard to destroy wildlife habitate.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California's main source of irrigation water is expected to go dry this year for most of its growers due to drought, idling at least 60,000 workers and up to 1 million acres of farmland, federal officials and experts said on Friday.
The zero allocation for most of the farmers who buy water from the federally managed Central Valley Project was declared as California water officials repeated their plans to cut amounts supplied from a separate state-run water system to 15 percent of normal.
The drought-forced cutbacks are a huge blow to thousands of farmers in the Central Valley, which produces over half of the fruit, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States. Higher prices are likely for a wide range of crops as a result.
It is unclear where the food supply can be replaced.
"It doesn't get any worse than zero," California Farm Bureau Federation President Doug Mosebar said in a statement. "Our water reliability has hit rock bottom."
It is going to be an interesting couple of decades.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Now we’re in the midst of a crisis that bears an eerie, troubling resemblance to the onset of the Depression; interest rates are already near zero, and still the economy plunges. How and when will it all end?
To be sure, the Obama administration is taking action to help the economy, but it’s trying to mitigate the slump, not end it. The stimulus bill, on the administration’s own estimates, will limit the rise in unemployment but fall far short of restoring full employment. The housing plan announced this week looks good in the sense that it will help many homeowners, but it won’t spur a new housing boom.
Republicans are cheering on a depression as they see it as a way to get back in power. Their leader Rush Limbaugh has said emphatically that he wants Obama and America to fail.
BEIJING (Reuters) - China closed 12 highways around the capital Beijing on Thursday because of heavy snow brought on after seeding clouds with chemicals, state media said on Thursday.[...]
She said that 313 cigarette-size sticks of silver iodide were fired into the clouds from Wednesday night to Thursday morning, "a procedure that made the snow a lot heavier."
I am not a scientist. Do not mess with Mother Nature!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
BRISTOL - A 32-year-old man who said he was walking down the Appalachian Trail to his parents' home in North Carolina has been reported missing.
Police said Ryan McCarthy may be depressed over losing his job recently and they are unsure whether he actually intended to head toward Robersonville.
McCarthy was last seen on February 7 after his roommate dropped him off in the parking lot of the Saint Thomas Rectory Church in Goshen, police said.[...]
McCarthy is 6-foot-3, 210 pounds. He had blond hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a camouflage jacket and blue jeans, police said. He wears wire rimmed glasses.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Bristol Police Department at (860) 584-3000.
If you have seen him let his family know.
Update: Found alive and well. It is cold out this time of year.
The Michigan Economic Growth Authority approved Tuesday a state tax credit valued at $722,957 so that the Michigan Brewing Co., a Webberville brewer of craft beers, can produce a new product line: a craft beer for musician Kid Rock.
Bobby Mason, the owner-brewer at the Michigan Brewing Co., said he hoped to have the Kid Rock branded beer on the shelves by mid-springtime. The beer's name, style and pricing are yet to be decided. Kid Rock is working closely with Mason on the design, naming and style of the beer, Mason said.
"He's working on designing the beer, he's giving me direction, he's tasting the beers," Mason said. "It's his idea, it's his concept. I'm just working with him to make it happen."
The company plans to invest $7 million in the project, which is expected to create 394 Michigan jobs, including 161 directly by the company.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - With a recent flurry of winter storms doing little to dampen California's latest drought, the nation's biggest public utility voted on Tuesday to impose water rationing in Los Angeles for the first time in nearly two decades.
Under the plan adopted in principle by the governing board of the L.A. Department of Water and Power, homes and businesses would pay a penalty rate -- nearly double normal prices -- for any water they use in excess of a reduced monthly allowance.
The five-member board plans to formally vote on details of the measure next month.
The rationing scheme is expected to take effect in May unless the City Council acts before then to reject it -- a move seen as unlikely since Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for the measure under a water-shortage plan last week.
It is going to be an interesting couple of decades.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
VAN SUSTEREN: I don’t want to pry to personally, but I mean, actually, contraception is an issue here. Is that something that you were just lazy about or not interested, or do you have a philosophical or religious opposition to it or…
BRISTOL: No. I don’t want to get into detail about that. But I think abstinence is, like — like, the — I don’t know how to put it — like, the main — everyone should be abstinent or whatever, but it’s not realistic at all.
If the republicans or her mother are going to trot out an unwed teenage mother, they should at least teach her to speak well in public. If Bristol were under 18, this would constitute child abuse. What exactly is this supposed to accomplish?
It is morally wrong to ask that question on TV. Think Progress has the video.
Team Obama is already recalibrating, naturally. Rahm Emanuel recently noted that an "insatiable appetite" for bipartisanship made Obama's team "get ahead" of itself. The President, for his part, clarified that bipartisan outreach does not make him a "interview back in 2007, in a clip which the blogger Jed Lewison recently flagged: I don't like people trying to take advantage of that [outreach]. This is why actually if you watch my political interactions. I am always best as a counter-puncher. You know, somebody comes at me I will knock them out. If not, I will try to understand their point of view and that actually serves me well. I give people the benefit of the doubt; I try to understand their point of view -- if I perceive that they try to take advantage of that then I will crush them.
Like grapes, I say!
Aptera is set to start making cars this year.
VISTA, California (Reuters) - Thousands of miles (kilometres) west of Detroit, a California start-up hopes to find a market for a three-wheeled, ultra-efficient, downright odd-looking car among consumers sick of spending their hard-earned cash at the gas pump.
The Aptera is an egg-shaped two-seater often likened to a space-age car from the futuristic 1960s cartoon "The Jetsons." Looking more like an aircraft than a road vehicle, it is a far cry from the hybrid sedans and electric sports cars being produced by conventional automakers.
Riding in the all-electric version of the Aptera feels similar to a regular car, although its roof-attached doors make getting in and out a challenge. Its long shape provides extra legroom and the car runs with a tinny, high-pitched hum.
To the executives behind the vehicle, its aerodynamic design and 100 miles per gallon (42 km per liter) range points the way to the future. And, with 4,000 customer orders already, they believe they have the early following to back up that confidence.
Aptera is claiming 230 mph with its hybrid!
Monday, February 16, 2009
STANTON, Ky. (AP) - Officials say an Ohio man died after apparently hiking too close to the edge of a cliff in Red River Gorge and falling 165 feet.
Powell County Coroner Carl Wells identified the man as 63-year-old Ronald J. Trick of Powell, Ohio.
U.S. Forest Service officials are still investigating the death, but Cumberland District Ranger Dave Manner says Trick fell Sunday afternoon. He had been hiking deep in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
My condolences to his friends and family.
Last week the Federal Reserve released the results of the latest Survey of Consumer Finances, a triennial report on the assets and liabilities of American households. The bottom line is that there has been basically no wealth creation at all since the turn of the millennium: the net worth of the average American household, adjusted for inflation, is lower now than it was in 2001.
CHICAGO (Reuters) - The climate is heating up far faster than scientists had predicted, spurred by sharp increases in greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries like China and India, a top climate scientist said on Saturday.
"The consequence of that is we are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously," Chris Field, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.
Field said "the actual trajectory of climate change is more serious" than any of the climate predictions in the IPCC's fourth assessment report called "Climate Change 2007."
He said recent climate studies suggested the continued warming of the planet from greenhouse gas emissions could touch off large, destructive wildfires in tropical rain forests and melt permafrost in the Arctic tundra, releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gasses that could raise global temperatures even more.
"There is a real risk that human-caused climate change will accelerate the release of carbon dioxide from forest and tundra ecosystems, which have been storing a lot of carbon for thousands of years," Field, of Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science, said in a statement.
It is going to be an interesting couple of decades.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
After scaling a Catalina Mountains hiking trail more than 1,000 times over 20 years, David Bertelsen has turned pleasure into hard science.Bertelsen's observations of thousands of flowering plants on the Finger Rock Trail led researchers to conclude that dozens of varieties are blooming at higher elevations than used to occur.This phenomenon, documented in staggering detail, was discovered by an unusual research method in the annals of science: a weekly 4,158-foot trek to a mountaintop. In this case, the peak is the 7,255-foot Mount Kimball, lurking just behind the Catalinas' front range.Bertelsen's findings suggest that global warming is causing the plants' flowering range to move uphill, said one of two University of Arizona researchers who worked with Bertelsen on a study published last week in a scientific journal.Bertelsen, a retired probation officer, is what many researchers call a citizen scientist. It's a term he dislikes but that's coming into vogue nationally, as universities and governments enlist average folk to help them track the effects of climate change on plant and animal life.
Bertlesen has been climbing the mountain for almost 30 years. Just another sign of the global climate crisis.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a lower court ruling that had banned surface, or mountaintop, mining in West Virginia, according to court documents.
The ruling was hailed by the coal mining companies who have turned to mountaintop mining as an economical alternative to traditional underground mines in Appalachia where production is declining.
The environmentalists who brought the original case said they would assess their next legal move, but vowed to fight on against the mining method which basically slices the top off hills and mountains.
Friday, February 13, 2009
To make grolaw at They Gave Us A Republic happy Stuart Parnell is a rat bastard. I think you should click through and read his take on Mr Parnell.
But putting the hypocrisy aside, I have to say, it's become pretty tiresome to hear Republicans talk about the debt. First, more than 90% of every GOP lawmaker in Congress endorsed a "stimulus" measure that would have added $3.1 trillion to the debt. If the party were overcome with fear about the budget and "generational theft," why vote for such a plan? (For that matter, why run on a 2008 platform calling for -- you guessed it -- trillions of dollars in additional debt?)
Second, the latest Republican attacks presuppose some credibility on debt reduction. It's probably worth reminding NRCC spokesman Ken Spain that Republicans who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility added $5 trillion in debt, in just eight years, onto a pile for our grandchildren -- and have nothing to show for it except a deep and ugly recession.
OSLO (Reuters) - Global warming will push fish stocks more than 200 km (125 miles) toward the poles by mid-century in a dislocation of ocean life, a study of more than 1,000 marine species projected.
Tropical nations were likely to suffer most as commercial fish stocks swam north or south to escape warming waters, the report said. Alaska, Greenland and Nordic nations would be among those to benefit from more fish.
"We'll see a major redistribution of many species because of climate change," said William Cheung of the University of British Columbia in Canada and the University of East Anglia in England who was lead author of the study.
"On average, fish will change their distribution by more than 40 km (25 miles) per decade in the next 50 years," he told Reuters of the report in the journal Fish and Fisheries, to be presented at a meeting in Chicago on Friday.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Among Adkisson's ranting was a clear statement: "This was an act of political protest." Which means that it was, by definition and his own admission, an act of domestic terrorism.
Our radio hate talkers incited a man to commit an act of terrorism. Just sit a minute and take that in. And the next time you hear them foaming on about how liberals are "soft on terrorism," reflect on the fact that they'd better hope to hell we don't get any more serious about it -- because if we do, their asses are going to be the first ones in the dockets.
If you do not remember Jim Adkisson, he was the guy in Tennessee who killed several people in a liberal church.
Free The Hops | Alabamians For Specialty Beer (FTH) is a grassroots, non-profit organization whose mission is to help bring the highest quality beers in the world to Alabama. These beers are commonly referred to as craft beers due to the skill and artistry required to brew them, but they are also appropriately classified as specialty or gourmet. You might think of them as the Mercedes of beers.
The Trappist beers of Belgium are excellent examples of the beers FTH seeks to bring to Alabama. These beers which are made by Trappist monks include Chimay Grand Reserve, Westmalle Dubbel, Orval, and Rochefort 10 to name just a few. Savored and enjoyed like the finest wines or scotches, they are inarguably among the best beers in the world.
Here is an AP article about the legislation. The article was in no way harmed by me.
CONEJOS COUNTY—The Conejos County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue group were activated Monday afternoon after receiving information that a person may have died on a trail located off of Cumbres / La Manga Pass.
Conejos County Under Sheriff Justin Harlan comfirmed the death and identified the victim as Dennis Quick, 56, of Salida. Witnesses state that Quick was hiking with two companions to a group of yurts set up on the mountain. The witnesses told Conejos County Coroner Leslie Salazar that Quick died of natural causes.Authorities were on the scene until 8 p.m.
My condolences to his friends and family.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Birds habitats are moving north because of the global climate crisis.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Climate change is pushing American birds northward, with some finches and chickadees moving hundreds of miles (km) into Canada, an Audubon Society study reported on Tuesday.
Drawing on citizen observations over a 40-year period, the society's scientists found that 58 percent of 305 widespread bird species found in the contiguous United States shifted significantly to the north.
While there are many factors that can make birds move, there's no question this is caused by human-spurred global warming, according to report co-author Greg Butcher.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday pushed for more investment in solar and wind energy, saying the country that can make renewable energy sources price-competitive with traditional fossil fuels will become the economic superpower of the future.
Obama, speaking at a townhall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana, said renewable energy companies needed tax breaks and loan guarantees to provide incentives for firms to manufacture and customers to purchase solar and wind energy.
Obama acknowledged that while the cost of producing electricity by wind and solar has declined, it is still cheaper to generate power from plants fueled by coal or natural gas.
However, Obama said he wanted the government to invest every year in new technologies to drive down renewable energy costs over the long term.
"The country that figures out how to make cheaper energy that's also clean, that country is going to win the economic competition of the future," he said.[...]
Under the bill, the amount of the U.S. electricity supply coming from renewable energy resources would gradually increase to 4 percent by 2012, 8 percent by 2015, 12 percent by 2018, 16 percent by 2020 and 20 percent by 2039.
Obama also pledged to double U.S. renewable energy production within the next three years.
I think this is moving to slowly. An important part of it should be a feed in tariff.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Okay, we have the numbers. C=20,000,000 oz a month. P(i)=$160. P(l)=$60. Which means S=$2 billion dollars a month.I think Prup is being way optimistic when he says marijuana will be legal in the summer.
And tax revenue is even easier. If we take my proposed $10 per ounce tax for both federal and local, this would raise $2,500,000,000 a year for the national treasury and the same for the state treasuries, without including sales or income taxes, tariffs, license fees, etc. Not enough to balance the budget, but still 'real money.'
Of course my example is unrealistic in one way. Federal legalization is possible, and long overdue. I would not be surprised to see it as soon as this summer. But this would leave state options, and, at first, many states would not legalize it. And while it is likely that there would be some drop in prices in these states because dealers would be in competition with legal sellers in neighboring states, these states would not get the full stimulus effect or any tax revenue at all.
I don't think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen," he said. "We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California." And, he added, "I don't actually see how they can keep their cities going" either.
We need to get moving on the renewable energy front. Lets look not at the future of California but the now.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation won't announce this year's water allocation until Feb. 20. But late last month, state water officials announced that California's snowpack — which feeds the state's elaborate systems of reservoirs and canals — was only 61 percent of normal. The drought, officials warned, could become the worst in modern California history.
Water shortages are a severe threat to the state's agricultural industry, which uses 80 percent of the water consumed by Californians to produce more than half of the country's vegetables, nuts and fruits. The industry, the state's largest, generates more than $36 billion annually in sales. It provides 1.1 million jobs in a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation — 9.3 percent.
Already many farmers are letting their fields lie fallow. Fresno County's farmers plan to grow about half the lettuce they did last year. Other farmers are panicking and spending millions of dollars to dig expensive wells that mostly yield poor-quality water.
A new University of California-Davis study estimates that $1.6 billion in agriculture-related wages — and as many as 60,000 jobs across the Central Valley — will be lost in the coming months because of the drought.
That is a lot of jobs and food that we need especially with our economy in free fall. But poor water use has already led to the loss of a huge industry.
The delta is the switching yard for California water, the place where the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers come together. A finger-size fish called the delta smelt is on the verge of extinction, so a federal judge has restricted pumping that kills the fish, reducing the amount of water that flows south to farmers in canals. What this article does not mention is that the smelt feed the salmon. The salmon did not return last year. Hundreds of millions of dollars in the fishing industry were lost last year and into the foreseeable future too.
The delta is the switching yard for California water, the place where the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers come together.
A finger-size fish called the delta smelt is on the verge of extinction, so a federal judge has restricted pumping that kills the fish, reducing the amount of water that flows south to farmers in canals.
What this article does not mention is that the smelt feed the salmon. The salmon did not return last year. Hundreds of millions of dollars in the fishing industry were lost last year and into the foreseeable future too.
Commercial salmon fishing alone is a $220 million industry in California. This is the fourth bad year in a row for fishermen, but the possible closure of the fisheries reaches beyond the harbor docks.
"There are two million jobs related to fishing that are basically lost because of these closures and stuff. It's not good, the bed and breakfasts suffer, the McDonalds, the libraries, everything suffers, because we are not working," said McLean.
Scientists and environmentalists are trying to figure out just what happened.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Now the centrists have shaved off $86 billion in spending — much of it among the most effective and most needed parts of the plan. In particular, aid to state governments, which are in desperate straits, is both fast — because it prevents spending cuts rather than having to start up new projects — and effective, because it would in fact be spent; plus state and local governments are cutting back on essentials, so the social value of this spending would be high. But in the name of mighty centrism, $40 billion of that aid has been cut out.My first cut says that the changes to the Senate bill will ensure that we have at least 600,000 fewer Americans employed over the next two years.
From Steve Benen.
Dean Baker is thinking along the same lines: "We should talk about the spending cuts as job cuts. So cutting $100 billion from the stimulus means that they cut 500,000 jobs. (Working with the Romer-Bernstein numbers, $100 billion would increase GDP by $150 billion. This equals 1 percent, which they calculate translates into 1 million jobs. We divide by two [2-year savings] and get 500,000 jobs.) So the Collins-Nelson crew just cost 500,000 people their jobs. Isn't fiscal responsibility wonderful?"
The republicans will do whatever it takes to ruin the economy.
Victoria state police said that at least 84 people were killed in a series of wildfires that tore across the southern state of Victoria on Saturday, the country’s deadliest firestorm ever. Some died trying to escape the fires in their cars; others were caught up trying to protect their homes.The death toll from the fires was the worst since the “Ash Wednesday” fires of 1983, when 75 people were killed and hundreds of homes destroyed across southern Australia.
My condolences to their friends and family.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
"EPA believes that there are significant issues regarding the agency's denial of the waiver. The denial was a substantial departure from EPA's long-standing interpretation of the Clean Air Act's waiver provisions," the agency said.
Automakers are against California's plan to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2016 because it would result in a de facto increase in automobile fuel efficiency, which currently is set by the federal government.
Manufacturers prefer a single fuel efficiency regulation approved by Congress and administered by the Transportation Department that is based on vehicle criteria -- not emissions.
The current proposal under consideration by transportation planners seeks to raise average fuel efficiency of the fleet by 40 percent by 2020. The California law would exceed that mandate years sooner.
The article is a little sloppy it is California and 13 other states. Those states make up 37.7 % of US population. A few other states are thinking of joining California. Those states take it to over 50% of US population. The car companies should just bite the bullet and make all their cars compatible with California emissions.
Friday, February 06, 2009
A 20-year-old hiker fell to her death Thursday on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix.
According to Phoenix Police, Tessa Worby left a main trail for an unmarked path sometime between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. and fell about 250 feet.
Rescuers discovered her body late Thursday at the base of a cliff, but high winds and darkness kept them from recovering her body.
My condolences to her friends and family.
It’s time for Mr. Obama to go on the offensive. Above all, he must not shy away from pointing out that those who stand in the way of his plan, in the name of a discredited economic philosophy, are putting the nation’s future at risk. The American economy is on the edge of catastrophe, and much of the Republican Party is trying to push it over that edge.
I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One proposal to help jump start U.S. auto sales was withdrawn late on Thursday and the fate of another was unclear, despite a vigorous endorsement from President Barack Obama, as Senate consideration of economic stimulus legislation accelerated.
Sen. Thomas Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, pulled an amendment that would have provided $16 billion in rebates to buyers of new fuel efficient vehicles who traded in their old, poor performing models.
Harkin said he would defer the so-called "cash for clunkers" proposal, which had strong support from U.S. automakers.
Lobbyists for those companies this week called it a genuine stimulus for a depressed market. U.S. auto sales plunged to a 27-year low in January.
There was no backing, however, for the plan from foreign manufacturers whose operations are clustered in states represented by conservative Republicans.
This would have helped the American workers and the environment two things republicans are opposed to.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
I think the administration thought they could be mediators between the two parties rather than leaders of the Democratic party. That just won't work, particularly when the Democrats aren't very good at battling the Republicans in close combat and the Republicans can make those who stay above the fray seem lightweight and insubstantial, which is what they've managed to do. They've showed they don't respect Obama and are unimpressed with his mandate --- the administration needs to accept that and strategize with that in mind.Bold is mine. Republicans do not care about the American people. They are morally bankrupt.
He said today that bipartisanship for bipartisanship's sake is not desirable. He should just drop that whole schtick. He can have the cocktail parties and the get togethers and talk to them all he wants. And if they happen to have a good idea (very doubtful) then fine. But they are going to represent their narrow interests because that's what they believe their constituents want. That's the way the system works. They aren't partners, they're political adversaries and they remain adversaries even when there is an emergency at hand. Accept that and fight it out on the merits
New claims for unemployment benefits spiked to a quarter-century high of 626,000 last week, as businesses continued shedding workers to cope with the economic downturn.
The number represents a larger-than-expected increase over the 591,000 people who filed for benefits the week before, and sets the stage for another jump in the unemployment rate for January when it is released on Friday.
The number of people continuing to collect benefits also rose, to nearly 4.8 million, and is now at the highest point since recordkeeping began about 40 years ago.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
E-Fuel said Tuesday it reached an agreement with the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to create high-grade ethanol fuel from discarded beer yeast.Change we can believe in.
Los Gatos-based E-Fuel, the inventor of the world’s first home ethanol system -- the Efuel100 MicroFueler -- and Sierra Nevada have agreed to house MicroFuelers at the brewery in Chico, enabling Sierra Nevada to manufacture its own ethanol using waste from its brewing process.
Testing will begin in the second quarter with a goal of achieving full-scale ethanol production in the third quarter, E-Fuel said.
On average, Sierra Nevada resells 1.6 million gallons of unusable “bottom of the barrel” beer yeast waste to farmers each year. Containing 5 percent to 8 percent alcohol content, the waste includes enough yeast and nutrients to enable the MicroFueler to raise that level to 15 percent alcohol, allowing for an increased ethanol yield.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Much like the southern confederates of Lincoln's time, the modern Republicans believe that until Democrats sign on to their ideology, openly and without any deviation, they must stop them, no matter what the consequences. When they are in the majority, they dominate without apology and when they are in the minority, they throw themselves into the machinery to obstruct anything that isn't part of their agenda. They are perfectly willing to destroy the country.
More: I could not remember a comment that described my brother in law a cheap labor conservative and lover of southern heritage.* From the Guerrilla News Network. Via Libby
The ugly truth is that cheap-labor conservatives just don’t like working people. They don’t like “bottom up” prosperity, and the reason for it is very simple. lords have a harder time kicking them around. Once you understand this about the cheap-labor conservatives, the real motivation for their policies makes perfect sense. Remember, cheap-labor conservatives believe in social hierarchy and privilege, so the only prosperity they want is limited to them. They want to see absolutely nothing that benefits the guy – or more often the woman – who works for an hourly wage.
Bold is mine. But describes my b/l.
* Southerners like to say "Heritage not hate" when defending the battle flag of the confederacy. But it is their racist heritage and their treasonous heritage they are defending.
LONDON (Reuters) - The United States overtook Germany as the biggest producer of wind power last year, new figures showed, and will likely take the lead in solar power this year, analysts said on Monday.
Even before an expected "Obama bounce" from a new President who has vowed to boost clean energy, U.S. wind power capacity surged 50 percent last year to 25 gigwatts (GW) -- enough to power more than five million homes.
Political and business leaders worldwide have urged "green growth" spending on clean energy to fight both recession and climate change.
German wind power capacity reached nearly 24 GW, placing it second ahead of Spain and fourth-placed China, which doubled its installed wind power for the forth year running, said the Brussels-based Global Wind Energy Council.
"Governments must send a strong and unequivocal signal that the age of fossil fuels is over," said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of GWEC.
There is no reason at this point to build another coal or nuclear plant in this country. We can meet all new demands with renewable energy sources and start to phase out coal.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Two men were stabbed on the Koko Crater trail yesterday. Ouch!
A man in his 20's was taken to the hospital in critical condition and a man in his 50's was taken in serious condition.
Police set up a perimeter around Koko Head Crater as they searched for the suspect.
About three and a half hours later -- police located the suspect.
He was hiding in a tree and was naked.
The song is “Outlaw Pete” on Springsteen’s latest, “Working on a Dream.” It’s a ballad about a gunslinger that rides west to give up his lawless days. But first, he raises hell back east:
He was born a little baby on the Appalachian Trail
At six months old, he’d done three months in jail
He robbed a bank in his diapers and his little bare baby feet.
All he said was “Folks my name is Outlaw Pete”
No word on whether Baltimore Jack is thinking about changing his trail name.
HERE’S a bottom line to keep you up at night: The economy is falling faster than Washington can get moving. President Obama says his stimulus plan will save or create four million jobs in two years. In the last four months of 2008 alone, employment fell by 1.9 million. Do the math.[...]
What are Americans still buying? Big Macs, Campbell’s soup, Hershey’s chocolate and Spam — the four food groups of the apocalypse.
It is a good article worth reading in whole.
Also, via Krugman
“Say I’m a banker and I created $30 million. I should get a part of that,” one banker told The New York Times. And if you’re a banker and you destroyed $30 billion? Uncle Sam to the rescue!
Better yet, are you going to pay some of that back? Once again privatize the profits and socialize the losses. Socialism for the rich.
BREVARD, N.C. -- Searchers in the North Carolina mountains will resume their search Monday morning for an Asheville woman missing since she told her roommate she was going on a day hike on Sunday.Investigators said that the woman left her home around 11 a.m. Sunday, but left a note telling her roommate she'd be gone for the day to the Pisgah National Forest, but would be back by dark.Crews have centered their search in the Turkey Pen Trail area of the Pisgah National Forest. Searchers suspended their efforts at 3 a.m. Monday morning, but planned to resume at 9 a.m.
The woman's note didn't specify which trail she was hiking, but her car was found early Monday near the trailhead of the Turkey Pen Trail.
Lets hope she makes it out fine.
Update: Alive and well. She apparently spent the night in a shelter. I saw reports this morning that said rescuers looked until 3 in the morning. Why did they not check a shelter within five miles of the road?
MILLS RIVER - Lindsey Pfundstein, 22, who was lost overnight in Pisgah National Forest, walked out of the woods at 11:15 a.m. today.
The woman, who had been missing since Sunday night, walked into the parking lot at the trailhead where she had left her car.
"Are you searching?" a reporter asked.
"No, I think I'm the one they're looking for," she said.
She emerged from the forest out of breath but otherwise in apparent good health.
She wore hiking boots, a sweater and sleeveless jacket and was carrying a good-sized backpack. She walked up to a forest ranger, who asked her if she needed water and if she was OK.
I mean she walked out from the shelter down the trail to her car. Where exactly were they looking. I would send people down the trail from her car first.
Update 2: Lindsey's father Mark explains in comments what threw the searchers off. I did not really mean to criticize the searchers too much. I hope I did not offend the first responders. It is hard to figure out what happened from the news articles I read. It just seamed strange to me. Any way I am glad Lindsey made it out OK. She had enough skills to keep warm over night. It is hard to self rescue when out alone and things do not go right. I have been there.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Concealing discoveries of contaminated imported honey is immoral, unethical and often illegal -- and it happens far too often, U.S. honey producers say.
"It doesn't take a wizard to determine whether there are bad things in the honey we handle, nor a hero to do what it takes to keep it from our food supply," said Mark Brady, a Texas beekeeper who sits on the National Honey Board.
"If we buy Chinese honey, as we do far too often, we know it may contain chloramphenicol or some other antibiotic that is illegal in any food product," said Brady, who produces about a million pounds of honey a year. "To find it and not report it is criminal."
Two-thirds of the honey Americans consume is imported and almost half of that, regardless of what's on the label, comes from China, the Seattle P-I reported last month.
The newspaper's five-month investigation into honey laundering -- the intentional mislabeling of the country of origin -- found that tons of Chinese honey coming into the U.S. is tainted with banned antibiotics.
I have said it before and will say it again, do not buy food from China. When it is mislabeled it is hard to avoid. Buy from as local a source as you can find.
Via Toby at the Oxdown Gazette who has a great discussion in comments that is worth reading.