Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cut and Paste Job

I've been having some real problems (read couldn't do it) pasting from any application through to Blogger via Opera. Just would not do it. Nor did spell check work.

As Opera is my absolute favorite browser, this has been more than irritating. But, through Firefox, both pasting and spell check function properly.

So, it's time to wander through Opera's options and see what I can see. Mayhap "enable proxy servers" will do the job, or perhaps some Java setting.

Anyway, at least I can now compose and post at my leisure, and paste the article via Firefox.

Better than nothing. Still irritating.

Alaska Glaciers Grew This Year

There's been a lot of talk the last couple years about how Alaska's glaciers are melting away.

Not true. If anything, they grow. And, the melting began hundreds of years ago, a little before factories and SUVs....

Original story at: http://www.adn.com/news/environment/story/555283.html
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http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/53884.html

Alaska glaciers grew this year, thanks to colder weather
By Craig Medred | Anchorage Daily News

Two hundred years of glacial shrinkage in Alaska, and then came the winter and summer of 2007-2008.

Unusually large amounts of winter snow were followed by unusually chill temperatures in June, July and August.

"In mid-June, I was surprised to see snow still at sea level in Prince William Sound," said U.S. Geological Survey glaciologist Bruce Molnia. "On the Juneau Icefield, there was still 20 feet of new snow on the surface of the Taku Glacier in late July. At Bering Glacier, a landslide I am studying, located at about 1,500 feet elevation, did not become snow free until early August.

"In general, the weather this summer was the worst I have seen in at least 20 years."

Never before in the history of a research project dating back to 1946 had the Juneau Icefield witnessed the kind of snow buildup that came this year. It was similar on a lot of other glaciers too.

"It's been a long time on most glaciers where they've actually had positive mass balance," Molnia said.

That's the way a scientist says the glaciers got thicker in the middle. Read the complete story at adn.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bring Ratchet Home

Ratchet is a Iraqi dog which Sgt. Gwen Beberg saved from certain death, and now loves.  The Army will not allow her to bring the dog home.  Here's the article.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081014/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/iraqi_puppy

Army blocks soldier from bringing puppy back 



By FREDERIC J. FROMMER, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 5 minutes ago

More than 10,000 people have signed an online petition urging the Army to let an Iraqi puppy come home with a Minnesota soldier, who fears that "Ratchet" could be killed if left behind.

"I just want my puppy home," Sgt. Gwen Beberg of Minneapolis wrote to her mother in an e-mail Sunday from Iraq, soon after she was separated from the dog following a transfer. "I miss my dog horribly." Beberg, 28, is scheduled to return to the U.S. next month.

Ratchet's defenders are ratcheting up their efforts to save him. On Monday, the program coordinator for Operation Baghdad Pups, which is run by Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International, left for a trip to the Middle East to try to get the puppy to the U.S.

And last week, Beberg's congressman, Democrat Keith Ellison, wrote to the Army urging it to review the case.

Beberg and another soldier rescued the puppy from a burning pile of trash back in May. Defense Department rules prohibit soldiers in the U.S. Central Command, which includes Iraq, from adopting pets, but exceptions have been made. Operation Baghdad Pups says it has gotten 50 dogs and six cats transferred to the U.S. in the last eight months.

"I'm coping reasonably well because I refuse to believe that Ratchet has been hurt," Beberg wrote in the e-mail to her mother, Patricia Beberg. "If I find out that he was killed though — well, we just won't entertain that possibility."

The mother said her daughter sent another e-mail saying that she confirmed that the dog was still alive and doing OK.

Operation Baghdad Pups' program coordinator, Terri Crisp, is scheduled to arrive in Baghdad on Wednesday. Crisp said the adopted dogs left behind face death on Iraqi streets.

She said Iraqis view dogs and cats as nuisances and carriers of disease, and U.S. soldiers have rescued many of them from abuse.

___

On the Web:

Ratchet petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/clemency-for-ratchet

(This version CORRECTS spelling of Terri Crisp.))


Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. 

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I urge anyone who may read this to sign the petition so that Sgt.  Beberg may retain the animal which aided her emotional stability in such an adverse environment.

Again:   Ratchet petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/clemency-for-ratchet 

Sign it NOW!  Before some heartless S.O.B. kills this faithful friend.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Troopergate

Well, it may well have been naieve for Governor Palin to act as she did, but I pesonally find it difficult to disparage her greatly because of this.

Consider: The Alaska State Trooper involved was commonly believed to be arrogant and brutal, drank alcohol while on duty, in uniform, in a police car, shot a cow moose out of season without a license (mortal sin in Alaska!), tasered his stepson, apparently for nothing, and abused his wife, Palin's sister, as well as being accused of other, less provable, infractions.

Seems to me that anyone with a body temperature above room temperature would want to do SOMETHING to this guy!  Had he done it to my sister, Bonnie Dee, I'd surely want to make him pay.

Technically unethical act by the Guv?  Yeah, I guess so.

Tremendous crime?  Naw, I don't think so.

Understandable?  To me, yes.

Would I have done something similar?  Oh, yeah.

Bottom line for me is that, while hardly the absolutely most legal, best or brightest move, Governor Palin's actions in this affair are hardly mortal sins, and would have no bearing on her abilities and/or actions as Vice President, nor disqualify her for higher political office.

Personal opinion, now.

Our governor is not perfect, she's human.  And it's very human indeed to protect one's family.  To me, her acts were undestandable and justifiable.

Man, had someone treated my sister and her kid like that, I'd have been all over him like stink on shit, with no apologies.  Preferably kick his ass, but he looks pretty tough, so I much misdoubt that I could.

But then, both my IQ and body temperature are above ambient.

Anyway, that's how it looks to most all of us, out here in the Eastern Aleutian Islands.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Winter's Coming

Last night, for the first time since about April, we had solid precipitation.  Freezing rain, for just a few minutes.  And, off and on, it's been trying to snow all day long.  So, winter seems close.  Well, it's about time, I guess; after all, it is October.  Still, it's been such a nice fall that I'm sad to see it go.

Of course, any seeds ungathered have a smaller chance of maturing.  So, all things considered, I'd best buy some foxglove and other seeds for next year.  TIme to order the garlic, too, and also see if there's been much progress in the bulbs out back.  I've a small 4'X8' garlic plot, the soil of which has had but a year's worth of improvement.  A garlic pulled about a month ago was quite disappointing in size, but it's getting to the point where they must come up, ready or not.

I've also been pleased with the house ... shack.  This summer I tried to plug every last draft in the place, and feel I succeeded.  I can be blowing 30 knots, yet inside is dead air.  No movement whatsoever.  The true test, however, will be in full winter, January to March.  

We'll see how it works out, but really, the comfort level simply MUST be much improved.

I've been watching the financial collapse and trying to figure out what's actually happening, why, and what it all portends.  Frankly, I am fearful of a true depression, as in the 1930s.  I think things are that bad.

In the next day or two, will try to form my thoughts on that matter into some coherent form.  Had I any readers, I'd apologize to them for the dallying, but there are no readers ...

So, I'll apologize to me.  This blog is for me, after all.  A way to form my thoughts, generally inform friends, and practice writing.

Dark, overcast, chilly, wet ... winter's coming, oh yeah!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Seed Collecting

Day before yesterday I collected maybe a hundred seeds from the single Dwarf Monkshood in back.  One must be observant, as these seeds apparently disperse just so soon as ready.  I had checked the plant two days before, and obviously the seeds were unready.  When I next checked, all were ready and many had already dispersed.  Had I waited another day, most likely all would have been lost, or at least the great majority.

Of all things, a pretty daisy called "African Daisy" flourishes here in the Eastern Aleutians.  So, yesterday began clipping some of those seeds, of which I'd guess there are also a hundred or so.  Some poppy seeds, too, enough at least for next year, if I'm careful.  Maybe more coming.

So far, the foxglove in back is not ready to disperse seed, but I watch it closely.  Looks like it might take laying down a plastic sheet or some such to ensure collecting the largest possible number of seeds.  Time will tell.  Check daily, and all that.

There's another couple of plants that bear watching about now, also.  They will be mentioned if a successful harvest occurs.

And that's gardening today.

Another one, a week too late

I've been sitting up here at this end of the planet watching everything unwind and collapse.  After all this reading, maybe I've got a clue .... I hope.

Anyway.

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Honorable Senator:

Soon the administration will try again to force through what is an actually communistic total control of the markets, when good old-fashioned common sense and a renewed Glass-Steagall act would go far indeed toward repair of the underlying rot in our market system. They will rename it, likely call it a "rescue" or such other BS, but it will still privatize profit and publicize loss. Unacceptable.

The present administration has lied, lied, and lied, and I see no reason to any longer believe anything they say. Paulson and Bernanke are two of the people who got us into this mess. They should be fired, investigated, and put on trial should that be legally possible. Those two are from Wall Street, think Wall Street, and expect to return to Wall Street. Their past and ongoing connections to the hubristic fools who lied us into all this more than suggest conflict of interest and corruption. These are the people who got us into this mess, and they didn't see it coming! That's expertise?  

Why does anybody listen to these guys?

The true cost of this bail out will easily reach a Trillion dollars! There is at least $1000 trillion (one QUADRILLION!) of various leveraged markets deleveraging right now, and losing value fast, and putting up $1 trillion against that just won't work. The entire economic system is in fact a house of cards which now, as past predicted by many, collapses of its own weight. Throwing money at this just won't work.

' "The interbank market has collapsed," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas. "We're now seeing a domino effect as the credit multiplier goes into reverse and forces banks to cut back lending to clients," he said.'

The entire world credit market is being forced to deleverage since banks are refusing to roll forward new short term credit. The present serious credit crisis is due to this; no bank will lend to another, for no bank knows how much bad debt another has. Thus, the Fed is helpless, as the Libor soars, thus extinguishing any effect of rate cuts by the Fed. BTW; The Federal Reserve is a private corporation owned and operated by banks. And these stock holders want to help their own banks, NOT US! There's your conflict of interest. Have you noticed yet?

We are inevitably heading towards, at the least, a serious and long recession, and I feel we should just bite the bullet and get it over with. Such selective bailouts may temporarily postpone a financial disaster, but not eliminate it. And, when that disaster inevitably does come, it will have been worsened and deepened by a further (if possible) erosion of public trust in government and finance.

Any bailout of any kind will indeed be a waste of money, because it just won't work. And we won't see any profit, either. It's all a crock of lies. The crisis is NOT Wall Street thieves, but TRUST. Nobody trusts the financial or governmental sectors of society any more. A bailout, or indeed anything suggested by Bernanke, Paulson, the Fed, or this administration would prove that "Crony Capitalism" now rules in America. They have no credibility, help their friends, and protect their own futures, not ours.

This is all theft and corruption on a scale so grand that it's actually breathtaking.

No. Bailout. Period.
 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

EMails to my Representatives

I am absolutely pissed!  This has been building for over a week, and I finally vented.  And, this is what I said:
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"Honorable Senator:

Paulson and Bernanke are both from Wall Street, shall return to Wall Street, and are heavily invested in Wall Street. The same people who created this problem are to fix it? Bail out the ones who have, by their stupid greed, endangered our nation, and in some cases even reward the same people? While our nation suffers a true rate of inflation over 10%, homelessness increases, everybody is over taxed, foreigners buy our country ... the list goes on. And on. And on.

Give the Fed ( a private corporation run by and for bankers) and the Treasury TOTAL POWER? Non-reviewable decisions?

I don't think so.

Simply put, NO BAILOUT!

Voting for the Wall Street bail out is the ONE act which will drive my personal vote to anybody else.

I feel that our nation has been taken over by corporate and financial interests, that we are no longer a true Republic, and that supporting such an extreme power grab as this bail out is, simpy put, a form of treason. My basis for that?

"Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power. "

Benito Mussolini, fascist dictator of Italy (1922-1943)

That is happening here, now.  

No bail out.

Re-instate the Glass-Steagall Act.

I repeat: Voting for the Wall Street bail out is the ONE act which will drive my personal vote to anybody else."

My name

and home town

**********

Now they know; that is if they even bother to read it....

Monday, September 22, 2008

872,721 marijuana arrests in 2007

There's a lot of money in illegal drugs.  Legal drugs?  Not so much.

Illegal drugs are big business for the growers, smugglers, dealers, police, courts, private prisons, lawyers, corrupt officials from the cop on the beat to the president, border patrol ... the list is nearly endless, and depressing.  IT all boils down to money: EVERYBODY profits from illegal drugs, and they don't want the gravy train to fade.

Think about that.

Anyway, from NORML:

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http://blog.norml.org/2008/09/15/872721-marijuana-arrests-in-2007-up-52-from-2006/

"872,721 marijuana arrests in 2007, up 5.2% from 2006
September 15th, 2008

By Russ Belville, NORML Stash

Record Number Of Americans Arrested For Marijuana

The FBI has released its annual report on Crime in the United States 2007. Once again, the number of people in the United States arrested for marijuana has gone up. 872,721 Americans were arrested for marijuana in 2007, and of those arrests, 89% or 775,138 were arrests for simple possession - not buying, selling, trafficking, or manufacture (growing)."...

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It's a good article, and has a nice graphic showing 99.6 cannabis arrests per hour in 2007.

Don't know about your area, but on this island most arrests have alcohol as an influence.  Usually the cause.

Paulson as Thief

Over at  http://cryptogon.com/  is an article which expresses some of my doubts and fears of this financial bailout.

I feel that NONE of the actions taken are for the benefit of the American people, but rather for the international bankers who truly control this nation.

Anyway, check it out; personally, I like his attitude.  Besides the quote, there's plenty more to worry you.  And you should be worried.

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..."$700 billion folks IS JUST THE LINE OF CREDIT. He can purchase trillions and trillions of bad debt with this credit card, as long as only $700 billion is OUTSTANDING at any one time."...

Life in Space 1

All throughout the interstellar medium, precursors to life exist.  It appears to me that Hoyle and Wickramsinghe's theory of Pan Spermia it probably correct.  In every sense, we are indeed star stuff.  The large numbers of life precursor molecules actually seems to support old science fiction stories wherein a vaporous entity exists amidst the stars.

Who knows?  I dunno; but I think it's possible.  And the basics are there, floating about.

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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080919075007.htm

Interstellar Space Molecules That Help Form Basic Life Structures Identified

ScienceDaily 

2008-09-22

A team of scientists led by researchers from the Instituto Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has succeeded in identifying naphthalene, one of the most complex molecules yet discovered in the interstellar medium. The detection of this molecule suggests that a large number of the key components in prebiotic terrestrial chemistry could have been present in the interstellar matter from which the Solar System was formed.

IAC researchers Susana Iglesias Groth, Arturo Manchado and Aníbal García, in collaboration with Jonay González (Paris Observatory) and David Lambert (University of Texas) have just published these results in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The naphthalene was discovered in a star formation region in the constellation Perseus, in the direction of the star Cernis 52. “We have detected the presence of the naphthalene cation in a cloud of interstellar matter located 700 lightyears from the Earth”, says IAC researcher Susana Iglesias Groth. The spectral bands found in this consstellation coincide with laboratory measurements of the naphthalene cation.

Iglesias Groth further adds, “we aim to investigate whether other, more complex, hydrocarbons exist in the same region, including aminoacids”. When subjected to ultraviolet radiation and combined with water and ammonium, both very abundant in the interstellar medium, naphthalene reacts and is capable of producing a wide variety of aminoacids and naphthaloquinones, precursor molecules to vitamins.

All these molecules play a fundamental role in the development of life as we know it on Earth. In fact, naphthalene has been found in meteorites that continue to fall to the surface of the Earth, and which fell with much greater intensity in epochs preceding the appearance of life.

The work of these researchers also enables us to understand one of the most intriguing problems in interstellar medium spectroscopy. For the past 80 years, the existence has been known of hundreds of spectroscopic bands (the so-called “diffuse bands”) associated with interstellar matter, but the identification of the agent causing them has remained a mystery.

“Our results show that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons such as naphthalene are responsible for the diffuse bands and should be present throughout the interstellar medium”, says Iglesias Groth.

Yesterday

While surfing the web, looking for post ideas, I realized that there are so many excellent sources for information, written by those both more knowledgeable and intelligent than I, that to attempt surpassing them was ridiculous. All I can say is that I believe an unprecedented power grab and theft is now happening. We - all of us - are being robbed blind, and most don't even know it.

So, what the hell: it's yesterday for me. And, I apologize to my legions of non-existent readers for being ... human. No perfection here.

Yesterday was one of those gorgeous days we have here, when all or most of the mountains are out. September has been mostly such days, partly cloudy and warm enough. Some days we can see Mount Pavlof, a volcano about 70-80 miles to the West. A classic cone, it closely resembles Mount Fuji, in Japan. The weather promises to be pretty decent for the next few days, a welcome relief.

This spring was literally non-existent; summer arrived 24 July; and an "Indian Summer" is a relief. Winters can be handled, but we do expect SOME sort of summer as a reward, you know.

So, a couple pals came over, for lack of anything better to do. Brad and me had a smoke and went out back. Still lots of flowers, mostly a type of daisy similar to the Shasta Daisy, Veronica, and this wild white rose, which is prolific and lovely. After several years, the Lady's Slipper has finally bloomed this year, and being near three feet tall, is a mini-tower of blooms. Really pretty.

Jenny Lynn's uncle planted a few raspberry bushes in back of the motel a very long time ago. Now, they have taken over, and produce nicely. Picked a bowl yesterday, and with a little cream are scrumptious! Yet the ones in my yard, after years of TLC, don't do anything. So it's the chipper for them! The space obtained will go to another row of spuds, the last of which I dug yesterday. I might be able to get a couple hundred pounds out of there next year.

The three mints do well, especially the Lemon Balm. A pot pourri is pretty much done, using wild white and pink roses, a great many Yarrow blooms dried and jarred, and such like. The growing season is about done, and it's time to think about next year. No carrots, for example, more garlic.

I think what I'm doing is processing a lot of info through my subconscious, and a decent post will come of it. I think.

It's going to be another lovely day. This country is just so unbelievably beautiful ... when you can see it!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Palin Derangement Syndrome

That didn't take long. Mere hours after Sarah Palin received the nomination for VP, the most vicious political attacks I can recall began.

I mean, right off the bat! The absolutely most amazing distortions, exaggerations, and outright lies, from a party I'd thought to be all for empowered women. But then, they don't have much to say about Muslim abuse of women, either. Well, this nation's politics are SO polarized, that I ought not to have been surprised. Silly me.

I have no wish to make this just another political blog, so shall minimize political posts. But, considering the state of the nation today, some mention will be inevitable.

In any event, here's a couple quotes from what I consider a very interesting article. You ought to read the whole thing.

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http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2008/09/18/cstillwell.DTL

..."The attacks on Palin have ranged from patronizing to vicious to fantastical. She has been caricatured as an inexperienced rube, a baby-making automaton, an uneducated underachiever, a bad mother, trailer-park trash, a rightwing religious fanatic, a sexual fantasy, and of course, a fascist. No subject has been deemed taboo in the effort to take Palin down.

What her detractors don't seem to realize is that in the process of insulting Palin, they are insulting the majority of the country. If being a self-made success story, a working mother, a church-going member of a small-town community, and a believer in moderate to conservative political viewpoints disqualifies Palin, what does that say about mainstream America? The inherent condescension at the heart of the anti-Palin campaign is coming across loud and clear and it may actually be boosting her popularity. "...

..."Generally speaking, a public backlash over perceived media bias against Palin may be brewing. US Weekly's decision to run a trashy cover story on Palin titled, "Baby, Lies & Scandal" (two months after a glowing cover story on the Obamas) has reportedly resulted in thousands of cancellations. In a larger sense, a September 4 Rasmussen poll notes that "51% of American voters think reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin with their news coverage, and 24% say those stories make them more likely to vote for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in November.""...

..."But Obama's worst enemy is not himself, or even Sarah Palin, but rather, the ranks of his own rabid supporters. If they keep it up, McCain could be laughing all the way to the White House. "

Update to "No Cops!"

There may be significant errors in my last post. I am to meet with the mayor this Wednesday, and then learn the real facts.

Until then, it's best I suppose to ignore entirely those sections of the post identified as rumor.

You never know what to believe on this island.

Friday, September 19, 2008

No Cops!

No police! And that's a fact.

All I know for certain is the last two patrol officers left town, long before their contracts were up. And there is a pay penalty for that, so they had a good reason.

OK, here's the rumor: Our local chief was caught having sex with a local slut. The chief and his family are members of a rather strict, mainstream religion based in Utah. His wife left him and moved out, taking the younger children. His oldest daughter got her own apartment, and began screwing a local low-life, of which we have more than our share. So, the chief kicked in the daughter's door, and threatened the fellow with his gun. THEN, the Alaska State Troopers came in, disarmed the chief, and that's when the patrol officers left. And the chief can't carry a gun.

Now, I was not there, didn't see it, and it's all rumor, except: in the last MONTH, I have seen a patrol car out ONE TIME! The chief doesn't answer calls, and apparently never leaves his house any more.

We have no cops. But, generally, nothing has changed. Folks in this town, with of course exceptions, are generally pretty honest, or at least honest enough. You can still leave your front door unlocked, for example, though some few young men may be changing that for us all.

I like the chief; he's a nice guy, and if I must be arrested again, I'd hope it to be by him, or someone like him. And my marriage collapsed also. I know what it's like to have your entire life fall apart, and have nothing to hold on to. It is just pure hell, and you want to die. And all because he couldn't keep his dick in his pants.

I really feel for this guy, and wish there were something I could do. But what? I had to work it all out myself, and it seems he must also.

Poor bastard. Hope it doesn't drive him to alcohol, as it did to me.

Salmon Season is Over

Oh, technically, one might legally fish for another couple weeks, but in reality it's over. Peter Pan is no longer buying, and Trident is setting up for pollock and cod. All in all, it's been pretty decent for most of the fishermen here. The price was up for all species, due to some actual competition, the first in years, and runs were good.

While salmon may indeed be endangered Down South, in Alaska the runs are in great shape. The reason being that Alaska Department of Fish and Game is VERY conservative with our salmon resource. Often this can be entirely maddening, what with interruptions to allow more fish to go by, and the like. It can drive a guy nuts setting a net and pulling it 24 hours later, fishing one day and off two or three, but that conservative bent is exactly why we have such a prolific resource. Unlike most of the world, which has been vastly over-fished, up here there's a massive renewable resource.

In Alaska, we have a LOT of salmon. My freezer is full of free salmon, halibut, and rock fishes, given me by friends and acquaintances. More than I'll be able to eat. I'd imagine that folks who pay $10/lb and up for salmon will be disgusted to read I often feed my dog Elmo cooked salmon. But, that's how it goes. So many fish that we actually can use them for dog food. And Elmo just loves it.

Up here, each person may catch for personal use up to 250 fish per person. Most don't, as it is real work to get that many fish, but up Inside, in the interior, native villages rely heavily on this. 250 fish are not enough to feed one person for a year without hunger, but they have other options as well. The caribou do well, even around the pipeline, no matter the propaganda you may read. And, due to Sarah Palin's candidacy, I'm sure you've heard of Alaska's national religion of moose hunting....

Weather was atrocious in the first half of the season, not too bad the second half. We had NO spring, and summer did not arrive until 24 July, but after that pretty good, actually. And since then, too. We all hoped for an "Indian Summer", and so far we've had one.

I have seen blowing snow on the 2nd of September, so the partly overcast days are a gift.

And now, salmon is over. Already the "Outsiders" are leaving town, and life slows. Once, I could not get enough excitement ... but now, I like the slow life.

Whaddaya want? I got old man's disease!

You Better Look Out!

I honestly believe that we are headed into a Great Depression. But, this time there is NO industrial base to pull us out, as there was in 1940. It's mostly been offshored. Seems the American people - you and me - have been so busy trying to get by that we've not noticed that our nation has been hijacked. And now, foreign nationals are buying up, and will continue to do so, so much of our physical assets as they may.

Who pays the piper calls the tune, and China, for example, controls so much in the way of US T-bills that, should they desire, the Chinese government could bring this country down. Hard.

We no longer live in a democracy, folks. This country is now owned and operated by corporations and banks, for the benefit of corporations and banks.

Don't believe those fools on TV who say the worst is over. No; the worst is coming, and that soon. Commercial real estate is the next bomb to drop, and it will make the housing crisis look small. Then there's the derivatives ... and nobody knows what THEY will do.

What really scares me about all this is that the "experts" simply don't know what's REALLY going on. I sure as hell don't.

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article6337.html

..."The financial firms are not just dead, they are corrupt to the core. Perhaps one or two Wall Street firms will be left standing in a year or more. Has anyone figured out why foreign pursuit of Wall Street firms is blocked? Partly because foreigners cannot assess the value of such complicated opaque assets, intertwined within nests of acid pits. The other reason is that US banking authorities wish to keep the protected corrupt evidence within the Manhattan fold."...

Systemic Meltdown

What I consider an interesting article.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,578944,00.html

..."Nothing will be like it was before," said James Allroy, a broker who was brooding over his chai latte at a Starbucks on Wall Street. "The world as we know it is going down."...

Palin's Pot Problem

Which is the same as many another politician.  Mainly, they smoke with impunity, while we go to jail.  At best, that's hypocritical, IMO.  Actually, the entire government's approach to cannabis is hypocritical, as well as insane and arguably criminal.  Now, I admire Sarah, and think highly of her.  Even so, she's not hardly perfect, and I consider this a bit of a blemish.

I also feel cannabis should be legal.  Period.  The complete article can be found at:

http://reason.com/news/show/128824.html

..."Although Palin's handling of the issue scores higher on the candor meter than Clinton's, she has the same difficulty reconciling her personal experience with her policy positions, a problem also shared by former pot smoker Barack Obama. None of them has a persuasive answer to the question of why other Americans should be arrested for something they did with impunity."...

..."According to figures released by the FBI this week, about 873,000 people were arrested on marijuana charges in the United States last year, a new record. Pot busts accounted for nearly half of the 1.8 million drug arrests; as usual, the vast majority, about 775,000, were for simple possession, as opposed to cultivation or sale."...

 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Stool Breaks

Which could have a double meaning, of course. I'm thinking a three legged milking stool, but if you wish to think of excrement, that's appropriate also.

Wall Street has run on greed, fear, and hubris. Now, it all collapses. Yesterday, not only was I too lazy to write, but was also mesmerized by the Dow, dropping 450 points, and gold rising almost $90.

I have always thought our financial system was a house of cards, and am frankly quite surprised that it took so long to fail. And make no mistake: this is epic fail. I honestly believe that we see the beginnings of a great depression. But now, we've not the industrial base we had in 1940, so what's to pull us out? Almost anything you can name has been offshored, and now the entire country is, essentially, on the block. We have given our money to foreigners, and they can now come in and buy all, and at fire sale prices at that!

I'm not talking Rockefeller Center, here; but rather, what's left of our industrial base, and everything else. What will you do when some Kuwaiti comes in and tells you they've bought your loan, have called it in, and now own your business/home/farm? Just ask yourself.

And the media concentrates on any little thing they can find to bash political opponents, while ignoring the real issues that will affect us all, and destroy many. There is so much blame to go around. It starts with us, and our desire to live on credit, goes through both parties, Congress, the White House, Clinton, Bush, ... there's no place to stop, because there is no end.

We are all at fault, to some extent or other, but mostly, IMO, congress, for abandoning their duties. But, they've been in on the festival, too, and have been "on the take" forever, it seems. Congress' 9% approval rating seems a bit high to me....

Due to its resources and location, this town will, I feel, survive the coming shocks. But you Southerners below Canada will have real problems. Seems to me that some folks will freeze to death this winter because they've not the money for fuel oil, and not the education to survive without it.

An education that one cannot gain from schools, but rather real life. Which, so far as I can see, has been avoided by all too many folks for far too long.

I'd throw some numbers out, but nobody can agree on what's accurate. $450 Trillion of derivatives? $1 3/4 Quadrillion? I've seen those numbers and any between, and nobody knows what's accurate. That's what really scares me: nobody knows what's REALLY going on, nobody knows who owes what to whom, nobody knows what to do ....

And the Federal Reserve, which is a PRIVATE CORPORATION and entirely illegal, doesn't know what to do, either. They are out of arrows, and here come the Huns.

Sucks, huh?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Decent Price

This town has been under the thumb of two fish processors: Trident Seafood, and Peter Pan Seafood. Between them, they have this entire area by the short hairs, and don't mind playing dirty to hold on to them. Whilst there has never been any proof, it is widely believed that the two collude on the ex-vessel price paid to fishermen. Historically, they've paid just enough for the fishermen to survive, and little more. The glory days of $1 and $2 a pound salmon disappeared with the advent of farmed salmon.

Now, it appears, a company called Sno Pak will build another plant, right near the harbor. This will certainly ensure that the fishermen receive a decent price for a change. Until this year, pink salmon were worth 5-7 cents a pound. But this last season, because there actually was real competition, the same fish brought 37 cents a pound.

Suddenly, it's possible for the smaller boats to make some money for a change.

But, make no mistake: the "Two Kings" are not happy. I am told that Trident will not allow those who sold to the competition to so much as tie up to their dock. And Trident is the ONLY fuel supplier for this town of Sand Point

They don't mind playing dirty. There's a LOT of things I'd like to write, but frankly such could be deemed libel, and they don't - mind - playing - dirty. This little burg lives on rumor, and rumor has it "X" died because .... "Y's" boat loan was called in because .... Who knows?

I don't know; I wasn't there, and didn't see it. Rumors, you know. But, it wouldn't surprise me. And, along with many others, I suspect that there has been not merely unlawful corporate collusion and intimidation, but also corruption of native corporations. Wish I knew for sure. But, most all the natives here seem to believe there is such corruption, yet make no effort to change things.

That's hard for me to respect.

Well, that's five posts, so technically I am not nekkid. It's supposed to blow a gale tomorrow, but Northerly, so mayhap the weather will be good enough to run around on my four wheeler and dig up some ... facts.

I don't have to look for rumors; they come knocking on the door.

Potatoes

Since I don't know what the hell I'm doing here, I operate on free advice, gleaned from the web. One such article states that one should not launch a blog with fewer than five posts. "Starting Naked", I think he called it. And I'd not like to embarrass readers with my nudity.

So. Since this blog is about what ever I like, I'll tell you about my potatoes. I've a tiny patch in back, which produced a few last year, the first time I'd tried growing them. This year, even with such an abysmal growing season, production nearly doubled. NO! I won't tell you the total poundage - too embarrassing. But, it doubled. That's progress. BTW, I believe in mulching.

Some years ago I hacked down large numbers of salmon berry bushes to clear the yard, and found a most inconvenient little dip in the soil. As I know a boat wright, I was able to gain a large amount of sawdust, dumped it there, and forgot it. When I decided to try potatoes, there was no other usable area, as the rest of the back is full of flowers. So, there they went. Lo and behold, spuds! Seems they like loose, nutrient poor soil. Apparently, anyway, for that's where they flourished.

As I sit writing, there in front on the work bench lies the ... well, I suppose that technically it could be called a spud crop, though it wouldn't feed me for long. Still, it's an improvement, and I really should have been a farmer. I like dirt under the fingernails. Good, fertile dirt, that is.

Mmm. Mashed fresh potatoes. Lots of butter, mayonnaise, a bit of garlic ... yeah. By the way, while the garlic plot looks good, the bulbs are minimal. However, the soil in that area has just this year begun receiving my attention, and is not likely all that fertile. Next year will be better.

General Weather

Since so many I've spoken to over the years want to know about the weather up here, I must say that it's generally poor. At the moment, we're in a late summer. Since we had NO spring, and summer did not arrive until 24 July, this year has been unusual. Things usually green up around here at the end of June, beginning of May, but not this year. Unremitting wind, rain, and heavy cloud cover. Since we were all anticipating summer any second now, and it never came, it was all rather depressing, actually.

Generally, winters are horrid; a windy, wet, maritime climate, which during January-March can be pretty cold. Not so cold as upstate New York, say, or Minnesota, but chill enough for us. Last winter was unusually cold, with periods of 10-15 days of near zero temps, and North winds not dropping below 35 knots. Everybody's pipes froze at least once, and a couple roofs left their houses. Yet, during winter, we can have periods of two and three weeks' worth of sunny, clear days. Cold enough, but pretty. This is a lovely area - when you can see it.

Just kind of crappy, in general. Think Seattle, only colder, wetter, and windier. As an example, one June I fished a halibut opener (pre-quota), and it blew 103 knots in Korovin Strait, the other side of the island. That's about 118 mph. But I must admit that I was within a mile of shore. Plenty bad enough as it was, and that's a fact. Should not have been there, but when you're desperate ....

Most summers are decent enough, though this year's was unusually cool and wet. Luckily enough, September has proven, thus far, to be pretty nice. Finally - finally - some flowers I'd though moribund have actually bloomed, such as a bucket of poppies out front. Only two months late ....

Should any be curious enough to look, I'll soon post links to local weather. As this is a maritime town, we live - and sometimes die - by the weather, so we pay attention.

The Meetings

Last night, September 15, a public meeting was held at the Aleutians East Borough headquarters building, which I was unable to attend. Essentially, we were told all will be OK, and eventually the borough will get rich. Both of which, I'd imagine, are true enough, so far as they go.

Particular concerns, primarily about the fishing industry, were addressed, and I am told that all left satisfied. As this area now has but the single industry (fishing), it is obvious that we need another source of income and jobs. To all appearances, it appears that, over the long term, these oil, gas, and mining projects will provide great benefit to the local communities with minimal effect upon the environment.

Representatives of the World Wildlife Federation were in attendance, and as might be surmised were entirely against any and all development. Very few (if any) locals voiced determined opposition, but rather various worries about pollution, boom-town crime, etc. Suggestions were noted by the Federal Minerals Management Service, and from what I hear folks seem satisfied.

From what I've heard, this, as well as all other, meetings have gone well for the corporations concerned. Here follows a simple cut and paste of the meetings and places, most all of which have been completed. I include it merely to demonstrate that this is a serious project and not mere wishful thinking. While these meetings concern themselves primarily with oil and gas, there is also great interest in the massive amount of iron ore to be found in this region. There will be much more news as time goes on.

Change is indeed coming to this remote island, and all of South West Alaska.
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http://www.alaskajournal.com/stories/080308/hom_20080803035.shtml

Seven scoping meetings set for offshore oil, gas lease sales

By Margaret Bauman
Alaska Journal of Commerce

Seven scoping meetings are now scheduled for August and September in the Bristol Bay region to gather information for inclusion in an environmental impact statement for the proposed North Aleutian Basin oil and gas lease sale.

The federal Minerals Management Service has scheduled lease sale 214, for the outer continental shelf of the North Aleutian basin planning area for late 2011.

A draft EIS is to be available to the public in early 2010.

“We are looking for information to include in the EIS; areas we need to study,” said Robin Cacy, spokeswoman for MMS in Anchorage.

These include potential impacts that MMS has not foreseen or that are new since the last time MMS was doing studies in the area and areas with particular ecosystem issues, she said.

“Not everything will make it in (to the EIS), but we are looking at kind of a laundry list of things we need to look at,” she said.

The schedule includes a meeting Aug. 18 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Lake and Peninsula Borough administration building in King Salmon, and Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bristol Bay Borough assembly chambers in Naknek.

On Sept. 2, the MMS will hold its third scoping meeting in the Dillingham City Council Chambers, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Sand Point area residents will have their scoping meeting Sept. 15, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the offices of the Aleutians East Borough. On Sept. 16, MMS will be at the Nelson Lagoon Community Building in Nelson Lagoon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., then head on to Cold Bay to meet with area residents from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Cold Bay Community Center.

The final session is set for 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the King Cover City Council Chambers in King Cove.

Two other scoping sessions were held earlier in the year at Anchorage and Unalaska.

Cacy said MMS staff in attendance at all meetings will answer questions about the proposal and seek input on important environmental, social and economic issues that could arise from offshore lease sales in these areas. MMS will also continue to evaluate issues, if new ones are identified in the future, she said.

For information about the meetings, visit the MMS Alaska OCS region Web site at www.mms.gov/alaska. Cacy can be contacted at (907) 334-5208, toll free at 1-800-746-2627, or via e-mail at akwebmaster@mms.gov.

A Beginning

The purpose of this blog is to describe the changes and effects caused by the oil industry's, as well as the mineral industry's, activities in the Sand Point/Shumagin Islands/Bristol Bay area of Alaska. Change is coming, and soon. Before long, thousands of construction workers shall be in this area, and pretty much everything will change.

Massive amounts of money will come into this area, along with massive numbers of people, materials, shipping, traffic, money, you name it.

This area will never be the same, for better or worse.

As Cicero said, "nothing is constant save change".

Well, change is here.

As time goes on, I shall provide all the information I can concerning the resources of the area, predicted and observed effects on the physical, governmental, social, fisheries, oceanographic, and wild life matrices in this part of the world. Additionally, my thoughts, as well as the thoughts of others in the area, on these subjects will be posted, along with the odd personal posts. No reason to ignore the rest of the Aleutian Islands either, so from time to time Adak, Dutch Harbor, and other places will be discussed as they may come up.

This being the first post, it's little more than an introduction to the subject. Tomorrow I'll start putting up background material concerning the area's history, sociology, the mineral and fisheries resources around here, and other basics.

As I wish to make a few dollars from this, any reader may expect at least one daily post. I shall certainly attempt to do so, but readers must understand that I am in fact disabled and in constant pain. Therefore, there may be days when I'm just not up to it.

As most blogs are read by few, I can see no need to apologize for posting lapses. Always I've thought that a bit presumptuous, in any event. I hardly expect the reader to await, with bated breath, the next post.

Should the reader find these subjects of interest, do stay tuned. Things are changing here, and fast. Hard to say how it will turn out.