Saturday, May 24, 2014

Great Basin National Park, Nevada

In the shadow (click here) of 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak, 5,000 year old bristlecone pine trees grow on rocky glacial moraines. Come to Great Basin National Park in Nevada to experience the solitude of the desert, the smell of sagebrush after a thunderstorm, the darkest of night skies, and the beauty of Lehman Caves. Far from a wasteland, the Great Basin is a diverse region that awaits your discovery. 

Photo: National Park Service 

A Fragile Environment (click here)The Lehman Cave ecosystem is easily affected by our presence and actions. Please help us in our effort to maintain its integrity by following these important rules: You may bring a jacket, a hand-held camera, and a flashlight into the cave. All other items, including food, water, other beverages, purses, backpacks, camera cases, and tripods are not allowed. Touching or collecting of cave formations is strictly prohibited.

Great Basin National Park (click here) is very historic and has great biological diversity due to it's drastic change in elevations across the park.

Far further southwest of this magnificent park there are wildfires. As much as everyone would like to say forests are the cause of wildfires that is not the case. Forests mitigate fire danger when they are healthy with plenty of moisture within the trees and soil. 

Drought causes wildfires, not forests!

The current Arizona fires are exactly where the D3 (red area), Extreme Drought Condition exists. 

May 23, 2014
By Paresh Dave

...By Friday morning, (click here) the Slide fire had burned 7,500 acres of timber and chaparral through about 10 miles of a red-rock canyon north of Slide Rock State Park in Sedona. Authorities have contained about 5% of blaze, which erupted Tuesday afternoon. Now, the forecast of thunderstorms and growing humidity through the weekend has given them hope they can quickly gain the upper hand....

Besides the obvious danger to people, their pets and their property, southeast Arizona has productive agricultural land. The fires are in Yavapai County. The county is home to crops such as apples, to greens such as spinach and swiss chard to wheat. (click here)

The most urgent focus of the climate crisis is always the safety of people. But, the one true reality that relates to people is the loss of productive crop land due to the drought that accompanies the climate crisis. Southeast Arizona is valuable to more than the residents that live there. It is valuable as an agricultural economy that adds to the state GDP. 

Gangs or not?

Winter 2014
By George Turlow

...To say that after more than 50 years (click here) of history Isla Vista is at a 
crossroads is too kind. Isla Vista is stuck in political gridlock and civic neglect. 
It is now the fifth largest community in Santa Barbara County, far ahead of 
Carpinteria and Lompoc, and yet its citizens have the least amount of political 
control of any urban area in the state.

Isla Vista has gone through booming development, ugly riots, invisible 
demographic changes, and a long history of special reports and studies, mostly 
long forgotten and ignored. Little seems to change, other than the names of 
Pardall Road restaurants and the style of bicycles that clog its few main 

If a city is surrendered to blight, there is only one path that follows, regardless,
of commercial development. If people and their quality of life is left out of the 
equation the moral content of communities deteriorates. 

...The collapse of the Isla Vista RDA meant locals had to rally this past summer 
to save the Isla Vista Neighborhood Clinic building from being sold by the state 
for commercial development. More importantly, it means that new funding for 
traffic, safety and aesthetic improvements in Isla Vista has evaporated....

people.  Why do we need cops at all?  

The population of Isla Vista is about 7% of the county’s population, but 
close to 25% of all serious crime in Santa Barbara County occurs in Isla Vista. 
That figure includes burglary, robbery, grand theft, sexual assault, and other 
violent crimes.

Many of these crimes result in injury, and sometimes death.  In addition, other 
calls for paramedic services are due to alcohol poisoning, alcohol related falls, 
and other accidents; such calls are all too frequent.  Often police officers or 
sheriff’s deputies are the first on-scene, and are an integral part of the 
emergency response system.

There are many officers, deputies, firefighters and paramedics who work very 
hard toward the safety of residents of and visitors to Isla Vista.
Just for the record: UCSB students account for about 60 % of I.V.'s population 
and 35% of its crime....

What is so different than Aurora Colorado in 2012? Guns everywhere and a 
young man's displaced identity into violence? 

May 24, 2014
By Adolfo Flores, Rosanna Xia, Richard Winton
Rodger's retribution" "appears to be connected at this time" but would not 
elaborate. Brown called the shooting "the work of a madman.”
The video appears to have been made by a young man who identified himself 
on his blog as a student in Santa Barbara.
“I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I 
am in truth the superior one, the true alpha male,” the man says on the video, 
sitting in a car.
On the six-minute video, he talks about feeling alienated and rejected by 

Yep, sounds like a great reason to kill innocent people with absolutely
nothing to do with his social ineptness. How old was he? 19? 

Holmes sanity plea is in question, too. These guys are NOT insane, they are
deranged within their lifestyle. Closed off from the world, alone in their self 
identity and violent. I would never expect any of these young men to be 
successful with women. They are social outcasts for the strange lives they lead.

The Trow Report
In the wake of the Isla Vista riots of 1970 the President of UC commissioned a 
7-member panel (which came to be called the Trow Commission) to study ways 
to “eliminate or ameliorate the causes of unrest in Isla Vista.” The panel 
concluded that UC Santa Barbara had to take a more active and aggressive 
role in creating stable civic institutions in the community, improving housing 
and living conditions and ultimately taking a high profile in terms of building 
and land use in Isla Vista.
Almost 45 years later those recommendations seem as current today as then....

There is no social engagement by these young men. They are isolated and build
a world dictated by their passion for violence. They are always misunderstood 
and blame their social alienation on 'judgement by others.' They don't know 
how to laugh at their own 'social two left feet' nor engage how to move out of 
the awkwardness of 'growing up' even at that age.

The closed world of 'private violence' is a real problem for the USA. It results in 
domestic violence when there are women and children within the home and 
when there is no domestic target it turns to the street and strangers for an

Young people need to have enough of an income to engage socially in clubs, in
running clubs, fitness centers and places where hobbies occur such as a quilting
clubs. Our society is not healthy. Not in the way that removes the cloak of 
lonesomeness enough to actually move into 'social risk taking' where rejection
is the only bullet through the heart. 

Our young people, especially our young men, are not prepared to be 'resilient
to social rejection to move past it and eventually navigate successfully through
it. Lonesomeness in a world created out of adrenalin powered violence is too 
easy as a retreat. It is too convenient to 'be a man' based in guns and death. It
is too acceptable an identity with a ready made political clout that insures 
welcome among strangers only to be left empty to personal comfort.

Seven people dead. If he only knew and cared about at least one of them
enough to find compassion in life rather than anger. The rewards for social 
growth in our young men are not there. The Lone Wolf is becoming the standard 
enforced by guns and violence. A gun is a powerful friend. Unfortunately. 

Canada's pension funds invest in sovereign nations, not investment companies.

  • AAP 
Prime Minister Tony Abbott (click here) will seek the support of pension funds to invest in Australian roads, rail, ports and commercial developments when he visits Canada next month.
Canada's top 10 pension funds manage well over $700 billion in assets and are among some of the biggest in the world.
Mr Abbott and Trade Minister Andrew Robb will visit Ottawa - as part of a trip also taking in New York and Washington DC - to talk to government figures and business leaders, including pension fund chiefs.
Canadian pension funds are active in investing in infrastructure and real estate around the world, including power companies in the US and seven British airports including Heathrow.
The largest, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), committed to a $1bn interest in Sydney's Barangaroo South office tower project in July 2012....

When investments are made in sovereign nations and in the case of New York a sovereign state, the contract is usually guaranteed to have a return. Sovereign entities are reliant on their currency exchange rate, not stockholder earnings. Recently though, the Canadian investment in the Poughkeepsie, New York power plant provided to be rather expensive for residents of that city. 

Craig Wolf - Poughkeepsie Journal - March 2, 2014
Electricity costs are about to give consumers a shock. Sticker shock.
Bills are headed up.
Customers are already seeing higher bills and can expect more, according to utility officials. The impact is widespread, as Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. serves about 116,119 electric customers in Dutchess County and 87,601 in Ulster County. New York State Electric & Gas serves about 15,386 customers in Dutchess and 5,355 in Ulster. Four separate factors are creating the perfect storm of higher costs, especially for Dutchess.
• Many consumers used more power in January as cold snaps hit the region. Plus, more demand across much of the nation caused a spike in market prices. Winter’s not over.
• In Dutchess, a 3.75 percent energy tax hit as of Saturday on all energy forms, including electricity.
• In May, a “new capacity zone” charge imposed by a federal and state plan will boost costs by an estimated range of 6 percent to 10 percent for local consumers.
• And this summer, Central Hudson will ask the state to let it raise delivery rates effective in July 2015, ending a two-year rate freeze.
“I think it’s not good for us,” said Eric Fuegel, a senior citizen living in the Town of Poughkeepsie. “I get a big bill,” about $500 to $600 every two months, for both gas and electric service, he said. Hearing for the first time about the “new capacity zone” plan, he thought it “weird” and compared it to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority charges that hit the lower Hudson Valley in payroll and telephone taxes....
The northern tier of the USA is really getting hit hard with energy costs due to the displaced Polar Vortex. At least for now. So, with the price of natural gas spiking, consumers will be looking for alternatives.
In order for any economy to keep growing the circulating capital cannot be monopolized by subsistence spending. Energy is a subsistence issue. Minimum wage increases will move people away from subsistence incomes and provide greater disposable income. The increase in wages improves quality of life, lifts debt burdens from the national deficit and debt and increases economic demand on products so growth occurs. 

In the USA there is always the option for pensions to invest in Municipal Bonds. I am sure NYC has a successful pension program because it invests SOME in it's own Municipal Bonds with good return on investment.

May 22, 2014
By Doug Carroll

Existing home sales rose in April (click here) for the first time in 2014, an encouraging sign amid growing worries about the housing recovery's sagging momentum in recent months.

Sales crept up 1.3% from March to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.65 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.

But the pace is still almost 7% below April 2013 and the four-month average for this year trails last year's by about the same percentage. The sales rate was consistently over 5 million last May through October.

Last month's sales of single-family homes were about 8% behind their April 2013 pace, while sales of condominiums, town homes and co-ops were unchanged....

The focus on the Minimum Wage is right on track with the focus of Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen. She stated the housing market will improve when young people can afford their own lives and move out of their parent's home and into the housing market. It's time to push the economy to achieve those goals.

MAY 21, 2014

Janet L. Yellen (click here) has long occupied a front-row seat as Washington grappled with the financial crisis and the weak economy that has plagued the nation. Standing over second base at Yankee Stadium, where she delivered a commencement speech on Wednesday, Ms. Yellen suggested that playing the game is a lot harder than it looks from the stands.

Ms. Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, told a swirl of thousands of purple-robed New York University graduates that finding the right path in life involves missteps. Even Yankees legends such as Babe Ruth failed most of the time when stepping up to bat, she said....

Chairwoman Yellen is correct. Any path in life is not about guarantees so much as a journey. No future is set. Life is a challenge. But, the end does not justify the means and the morality within the journey is just as important, if not more so than the destination.

The turn of events which launched drastic measures by The Fed to correct the course of a disastrous banking system is more a lesson in 'immoral methodology' and the lack of insight of those without vision. The immorality of the days we live in today is the accumulation of wealth by so few. It only confirms the lack of insight and only to realize economic growth includes the upward movement of all, not just control by a few.

Arlington National Cemetery has a Confederate Memorial.

The history of Arlington National Cemetery (click here) is steeped in the Civil War, for it was this great national struggle that necessitated the establishment of this cemetery to bury its many dead. For many years following the war, the bitter feelings between North and South remained, and although hundreds of Confederate soldiers were buried at Arlington, it was considered a Union cemetery. Family members of Confederate soldiers were denied permission to decorate their loved ones' graves and in extreme cases were even denied entrance to the cemetery....

Last time I was at Arlington there were mass graves from the civil war. These graves were of soldiers believed to have fought and died in the Civil War, but, were unidentified. To heal the nation the Confederate soldiers were buried in our national cemetery. Rightfully so. They are Americans. The only reservation is they were committing treason at the time of their deaths.

There was also an investigation not long ago about misdirected activity and the investigation began around mass graves.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (click here) is conducting an criminal investigation into the mishandling of remains at Arlington National Cemetery.
The first part of the investigation concerns eight sets of cremated remains found in a single mass grave, Christopher Grey, spokesman for the commandtion, said at a press conference Wednesday at the cemetery.
The FBI is working with the Army on the investigation, begun in October. Grey said that the investigation concerns possible contract fraud and falsification of records, but that no current cemetery administration officials are involved. While multiple urns were placed in a single grave, Grey said multiple burial is not a criminal act....

Now if the country recognized the Confederate soldier as an American worthy of being buried in the national cemetery along with their Union brothers, then why the Confederate Memorial in Alabama? And why the commemoration?

By The Associated Press 
on April 27, 2009 at 1:22 PM

updated April 27, 2009 at 1:39 PM

MONTGOMERY -- The Alabama state holiday (click here) for Confederate Memorial Day was observed by about 120 people who gathered around the Confederate Monument at the state Capitol.
The Alabama Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Robert Reames of Birmingham, said the observance today had nothing to do with race or hate. He said it was an opportunity to remember ancestors.
Participants came dressed in everything from hoop skirts and sun bonnets to modern-day motorcycle jackets. They sang "Dixie" and called out the names of relatives who fought for the Confederacy.

Alabama actually has a legislated Confederate Memorial Day? You've got to be joking.

Excuse me?

‘There is glory in graves,’ (click here) reads the inscription on the Confederate Monument that stands in the center of Selma’s National Historic Register Cemetery. Visitors who stroll beneath its ancient oaks and magnolias draped in Spanish moss, will find glory, humor and pathos in the lives whose stories are told here.

Anyone is allowed their own opinions, but, not their own facts.

In the Spring of 1865 as the United States' conquest of the independent Southern Confederacy neared completion a particularly loathsome US General James Wilson set out to loot, burn and otherwise destroy as much of central Alabama as possible...

See, that descriptor tells me Union General James Wilson should have been tried and sentenced for war crimes. But, he really wasn't loathsome, now was he? He didn't rape and plunder Selma, he conquered it. His nemesis was a Confederate General by the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Confederate General Forrest was known to be very successful again the Union forces.

As a matter of fact if it wasn't for General Wilson's brilliant strategy against Forrest the Battle of Franklin would not have been won by the Union forces. So, the truth of the matter is simple. When the Confederate General Forrest had his butt kicked by the Union forces, General Wilson went on to completely disarm Selma to prevent Forrest from reconstituting his military. 

The Union Generals really didn't want to revisit a victory once it had been achieved. That moral content was to prevent further southern deaths and to bring the Civil War of greed and oppression to an end as soon as was possible.

The Confederate Memorial and it's commemoration is laced with lies and hubris and serves no foundation purpose to our country.