Thursday, October 17, 2019

More Wolf Pups In Oregon

US Fish & Wildlife Service tells us that at least four pups were born to Oregon's Indigo wolf pack this year.  The agency has collared one of the pups, now about six months old [photo courtesy USFW]  Oregon adopted a new management plan in June for grey wolves that fell short in protecting wolves in eastern Oregon where they are most abundant and not under federal protection.  Grey wolves eastern Oregon are still listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, but the regime has issued a proposal to strip federal protection for grey wolves.  An estimated 137 wolves live in 16 packs in Oregon.

To the north, Governor Jay Inslee wrote a letter to Washington state wildlife officials demanding "new methods to better support coexistence...."  State officials have been killing wolves at a rapid rate.  Four wolves in one pack were killed this summer hours before a court hearing was decide their fate.  The Governor referred to lethal actions taken in the Kettle Mountain Range where wolves are concentrated in northeastern Washington that have "resulted in public concern and outrage".  There are an estimated 126 wolves living in Washington.  Oregon's governor has yet to make a public statement concerning wolf protection in her state.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

COTW: More Installed Solar

What do you do with a landfill that gets filled?  A more common problem than you may think, but Maryland has shown US a responsible and efficient solution.  A former landfill in Fort Washington, MD has been transformed into the state's first large-scale, community solar farm.  Under a state run program, local community members are able to buy a share of energy produced by a solar array.  Participants get a credit on their electric bill every month for their share of the energy produced by the array. Under the program, which runs through 2020, nearly 196 megawatts of installed solar capacity will be allocated to a number of community solar farms in the state.

Head of the Neighborhood Sun company told NPR the former landfill was a perfect place for a large scale solar installation because it could not be practically used for another purpose.  Large scale arrays are land intensive, and one of the criticism of this abundant source of green energy.  Solar installation declined last year, partly due to an increase in cost in raw materials like aluminum and steel caused by increased tariffs on imported commodities.

 ITC: investment tax credit

Democratic 'Debate' Takeaways

US Person has these observations on last night's performance:
  1. You cannot fairly call these media assemblies "debates" until the number of participants is reduced to a manageable size.  There is very little time for leading candidates to exchange ideas despite the three hours allotted.  While Tulsi is photogenic, I would rather hear Bernie and Elizabeth spend air time explaining how Medicare for All is NOT going to require 'Merica to sell the Pentagon.  You need an extra-wide camera lens just to fit everybody into one shot!  The picture above is a suggested solution to this problem.
  2. Bernie Sanders did well for a guy that just survived a heart attack. It seemed to US that he did not get a fair share of attention from the moderators.  He jokingly accused them of "taking it easy" on him.  When he did get a chance to speak, he came across forcefully and more articulately than Joe Biden who is two years younger than him.  He scored a point against Biden for "getting things done", like the Iraq War, NAFTA and bankruptcy 'reform' for finance companies.
  3. Elizabeth Warren was treated as the front runner by the other candidates and got a little testy when she was peppered with criticisms and questions. She refused to answer Kamala Harris's request to join her in asking Twitter to remove the Malignant One's account on grounds of corporate responsibility.  Warren has only lately come around to people financing her campaign, after the original Sanders showed her the way, again.  She repeatedly dodged questions on Medicare for All.
  4. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the obvious champion of the younger Democratic faithful.  He repeatedly chided the older Democrats for talking about progressive issues, but accomplishing very little.  That criticism is somewhat unfair given a totally uncooperative majority in the Senate for most of his lifetime.  A counterpoint against the Mayor from Gary:  Gary, Indiana was recently voted on-line "the most miserable city" in 'Merica.  
  5. Of the second-tier candidates, Julian Castro was the most impressive, scoring points on the problem of gun violence, which includes police involved murders in his opinion, and immigration policy, asking how absurd is it is for a president of the United States to be putting innocent children in jail at the border, but allowing ISIS fighters to escape detention in Syria.  Answer, very, but then we are dealing with a sociopathic narcissist occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
  6. All candidates now agree that Il Douche should be impeached by the House of Representatives--finally!  Although Gabbard still sounds a little dubious on the issue.  And the corporate media is still avoiding the elephant in the room: climate change
In sum, fewer people--more substance.  Go, Bern!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Famous Elephant Park to Expand

One of the saddest tragedies of many to afflict Earth in the Sixth Great Extinction is the massacre of elephants on the African continent by man.  Hunted relentlessly since the 19th century, the great herds that once roamed the entire continent have been reduced to just 400,000 in fragmented pockets of habitat.  Big, older males are always in man's gunsights because they carry the biggest prize: ivory tusks that can weigh up to 100 lbs each or more.  It is estimated that fewer than 30 of these "big tuskers" remain in the wild.

Eight of them live in South Africa's Tembe Elephant Park, just south of the Mozambique border. They represent a priceless gene pool of large elephants in a herd of just 200 individuals [photo credit, D. Whalley]. But the 74,000 acre park is running out of room for the big animals, so rangers have had to put the females on birth control since 2007. Alarmingly generations of African elephants are becoming tuskless, an evolutionary response to the unending slaughter of big tuskers in their prime breeding age. Tembe has recently received good news on October 8th when the Tembe Tusker Foundation announced it would fund expansion of the park.  Established in 1980s, the park is owned and run by local Tembe people and hugely popular with foreign tourists.  Tribal king, Mabhudu Tembe, told guests at a premier screening of a documentary film that parcels adjacent to the park have been identified which would allow the addition of up to 64,000 acres.  More space means the Tembe elephants can be allowed to breed again.

Tembe Elephant Park enjoys wide community support and is a testament to the pride the Tembe people have in preserving their natural heritage.  There have been only  about five poaching incidents in the past 30 years. It is the area's largest private employer, and the Park conducts community education programs and free safari tours for Tembe people, so the can also experience the Park first-hand and come to treasure their sanctuary.  Staff salaries inject $260,000 a year into the local economy, one of the most impoverished in South Africa.

In the film about Tembe elephants, Mahamba, a beloved ranger who died in 2017, visits the bones of Isilo, Zulu for "King of kings".  Isilo thankfully died of old age. His tusks weighed an estimated 65 and 60 kgs, but his ivory was taken before the carcass was located by park personnel.  This is the only way man should harvest elephant tusks--after their true owner has no use for them any longer.

'Toontime: L'√Čtat C'est Moi

Latest:The pundits agree: the Orange King's barricades are crumbling. Normally timid civil servants are starting to come forward with devastating new details about Il Douche's covert pressure campaign against Ukraine to provide him with political ammunition against Joe Biden, his perceived opponent in the 2020 election. Apparently Russian expert Fiona Hill opened the flood gates in her closed-door testimony yesterday. She provided names and details about rogue Trump lawyer Rudy 'Ghouly''s extensive campaign to smear Joe and his son with allegations connected to the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings for which Hunter Biden served as a highly paid director. The allegations of Biden wrongdoing have largely been debunked in the media.

A shift in the political winds towards impeachment on Capitol Hill is apparent. As suggested here numerous times by US Person when impeachment was a word that could not be spoken, the Democrats are finally considering a formal vote on the impeachment inquiry, to remove the regime's often stated objection to compliance with discovery requests. Historic precedent is that a formal vote should be taken. Democrats are highly sensitive to the effects such a vote would have on swing district incumbents. In US Person's opinion, the party could afford to lose a few seats in defense of the Constitution. Voting against an inquiry is also problematic at this point, considering the mounting crimes committed by the Malignant One*. An average of credible opinion polls now indicate a majority of 'Mericans support impeachment.

More: {12.10.19}The WaPo reported yesterday that at least four National Security Council officials knew in advance of the Orange King's intention to extort the President of Ukraine. They were concerned enough about his illegal request for campaign assistance that they raised the issue with a Very White House lawyer before and after the September 25th call. When then National Security advisor John Bolton found out about the Malignant One's blatant attempt to secure dirt on Joe Biden and his son, he reportedly "went ballistic" and scrambled to find a transcript of the 9:00am call that had already been 'locked down' in an ultra-secret server. As officials attempted to report the incident to their superiors, they contacted National Security Counsel legal advisor John Eisenberg.  Accounts conflict on whether Eisenberg took any action concerning the alarming information he received.  But this new information is certainly consistent with the established fact that the Very White House was aware of the incident before being contacted by the CIA's  General Counsel weeks before a whistle-blower complaint was made.

Those involved in sounding alarms “were not a swamp, not a deep state,” said a former senior official. Rather, they were White House officials “who got concerned about this because this is not the way they want to see the government run.”  As some pundits have pointed out, it is clear that the CIA whistleblower has some institutional support among the intelligence community and on Capitol Hill, but whether the unrest amounts to a "palace coup" as Trumpians would have you think is certainly not accurate. No one at PNG thinks the Democrats are without sin (Hunter Biden never held public office, and Joe Biden never threatened to withhold federal aid for his own benefit).  To leave the Malignant One in control of the Executive Branch would be the death knell of what remains of democracy in 'Merica. So US Person says: Let the great impeachment begin!

credit: K. Siers, Charlotte Observer

Update{11.10.19}A federal three judge appeals panel ruled that Il Douche's accountants must turn over his tax returns in a major defeat for the Orange King. Mazars USA must turnover eight years of financial records sought by the House investigating committees.  It took the appeals judges sixty-six pages to explain why the regime's legal argument that the congressional subpoena had no relation to a legitimate legislative purpose had no merit.  The regime, in accordance with its stonewall policy of resistance, will appeal the ruling to the full US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, or the US Supreme Court.  Tellingly, the appeals panel voted along partisan lines with two Democrat appointed judges in the majority for enforcing the subpoena.  It is an open question in Washington whether the conservative majority of the Supreme Court will vote to defend the Malignant One from congressional oversight and impeachment.

The panel majority did not address the question of whether the House needed to invoke its impeachment powers to make its discovery demands legitimate since the case was decided solely on its executive oversight responsibilities.  Chairman Cummings of the House Oversight Committee hailed the decision saying, "Today’s ruling is a fundamental and resounding victory for congressional oversight, our constitutional system of checks and balances and the rule of law...”  US Person continues to think that as a matter of jurisprudence, and even though the House is following its own adopted rules in declaring an impeachment inquiry is underway, the full House should take the extra step and hold a formal vote endorsing Speaker Pelosi's decision.  The political risks of doing so are minimal since a majority of 'Mericans now support impeachment.  Only eight Democrat representatives have not publicly declared support for an impeachment inquiry.

The ruling comes one day after Deutsche Bank told a federal court in New York that it no longer has Il Douche's tax returns in its possession.  The admission surprised former bank officials cooperating with House investigations into alleged financial fraud by Trump and his organization. Normally, financial records including tax returns are required to support loan applications.  The bank collected his records in 2011 when it became his lender of last resort after a string of bankruptcies cost other financial firms significant losses.  Deutsche Bankt relied on the submitted information when it approved loans for Trump's Doral golf course and a Chicago skyscraper in 2012.  By the time Trump was sworn into office he owed Deutsche Bank an estimated $300 million, making it his largest creditor.

{11.10.19}This week, Il Douche drew his legal guns, as predicted by US Person {28.09.29, Just the Facts, Ma'm} and turned the Very White House into the Alamo. He told Congress through his mouthpiece that he and his administration  would not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry under any circumstances. The letter, written by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, was widely criticized by legal scholars as being puerile and a strange hybrid of absurd legal argument (citing George III as precedent, no less) and political polemic. The letter is concllusive proof of another impeachable offense: obstruction of Congress.  Nixon tried the same tactic and lost.  US Person has noted before that impeachment is a political process wrapped in legalisms.  So Repugnants should take note, 'Merican have woken up to the 'yuge' con of Don Veto Trumpilliini: a majority now support impeachment and removal from office.

Smilin' Jack once told us in "A Few Good Men", 'Mericans "Can't handle the truth..."  Well, US is going to give it to you anyway: Donald Trump is mobbed up with the Russians. This 'wise guy' got financing for his failing businesses from them via Deutsche Bank, his casinos laundered money for them, Russian agents got him elected in 2016, and illegal Russian money is now flowing into his 2020 campaign.  You can bet your life that the cappo di tutti capi, Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin, has the goods on Il Douche. Which explains why he put the arm on the Ukrainians to dig up 'dirt' on the Bidens, and threw the only effective US ally in Syria under the Turkish bus. Remember, you read it at PNG first.
credit: Jen Sorensen
Wackydoodle sez: He told me he was callin' "Dialing for Dollars" 

*Take for example, 18 U.S. Code § 872: “Extortion by officers or employees of the United States".: “Whoever, being an officer, or employee of the United States or any department or agency thereof, or representing himself to be or assuming to act as such, under color or pretense of office or employment commits or attempts an act of extortion, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.” Ukrainians are in fear of being overrun by Russian tanks. US Person thinks that qualifies.

Monday, October 14, 2019

California Bans Real Fur

near San Jose, CA
Once again leading the nation, California has banned fur products. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill this weekend. The ban goes into effect in 2023.  Of course animal rights activists hailed the new law.  He also signed a bill that bans most animals from performing in circuses, following New Jersey and Hawaii that have similar laws.  The ban is not absolute.  It exempts fur worn for religious or tribal purposes, used fur products, and does not apply to deer, goat, sheep or cattle hides, or stuffed animals (trophies). The law provides for fines for each fur product sold up to $1000 for repeated violations.  Opposed by the fur industry, it claimed the law was an "attack on choice" and the product of a "radical vegan agenda" using a fur ban as the first step.  Fashion designers, Versace, Gucci, and Armani have already announced they are done with real fur. Sliding further down the slippery slope of veganism, Gov. Newsom also signed a law that prohibits the trapping or killing of bobcats (Lynx rufus), adding them to the list of protected species in the state.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Sage Grouse Feel the Heat

The Gunnison Valley is a beautiful, high-altitude basin in the Colorado Rockies surrounded by fourteen thousand foot peaks, and the home of the Gunnison sage grouse (Centrocercus minimus). The impact of global climate warming is all too obvious in the valley. Several years of drought have reduced the number of flowers produced by forbes such as sagebrush. The coldest winter in decades in 2018-19 lingered well into May, causing some hens to abandon their nests or lower their eggs' temperature beyond survival.  Fewer flowers mean fewer insects and grouse chicks eat nothing else in their first few weeks of life.  Consequently, the number of hatchlings has plummeted.

Despite concerted conservation efforts, the bird's population is at the lowest
level since 1996.  Habitat loss and climatic extremes has pushed the grouse closer to the edge of extinction in the wild.  Populations have decreased 60% in the last four years and are expected to get worse.  This species has fared slightly better in the western habitat wars than its larger relative.  The common sage grouse has served a sort of proxy for oil exploitation fights in the West. It was not listed as endangered in 2015 because of a compromise conservation plan that the current regime is dismantling.  The Gunnison grouse is listed as "threatened".  Some conservationists want an endangered listing since it would bring more federal scrutiny, but Colorado wildlife officials think the current mix of state and local protections are just as good.  Now, state officials do the population counts, relocations, and habitat improvement.  Local people are involved in planting sagebrush and removing invasive cheatgrass.

Like other birds who perform a dancing display at a lek, their behavior patterns are considered inflexible, and since it is confined to a small geographic area, it also has an extreme lack of genetic diversity.  These factors make the Gunnison grouse susceptible to a downward extinction spiral.