Saturday, September 22, 2012

News: Nat. Parks Free Day. Artic Safe! Armada in Gulf. Archipelago Conflict. Montana Ranches. Toxic Coal Ash. ‘Vasa’ Rotting. "Farm Aid".

For “Summary Saturday”, News; Some New, Some Old:

Visit America's National Parks For Free On September 29

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 19, 2012) – “On September 29, National Public Lands Day, national parks from coast to coast will be offering free admission to all visitors.  To encourage the public to take advantage of this great opportunity to experience America’s national treasures, the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, Travel Channel, and Zipcar have teamed up to make park adventures easy and accessible for everyone.

The National Park Foundation is inviting park visitors to join the community of national park supporters by visiting  There individuals can share their park stories, photos and videos, as well as discover the parks nearest to them wherever they are!  In addition, visitors can discover how they can help in supporting and protecting America’s nearly 400 national parks through the National Park Foundation.”  More at:


Use Your Voice, Tell the Candidates to Protect America's National Parks for Future Generations

95 percent“The president we elect on November 6 will preside over the National Park Service’s centennial in 2016. What he does after taking office will set the course for what kind of park system we leave our children and grandchildren for the next 100 years.

Sign the petition today. Tell both of the candidates that funding our national parks isn’t discretionary. It’s essential.”


Shell's "Happy" Mood Smashed By Ice

Mass of sea ice forces drilling to halt, raises doubts about spill cleanup

Chukchi Sea, Alaska. (Florian Schulz /

“Shell’s vice president of Alaska operations was quoted last Saturday as saying "Happy, happy, happy." Then the ice showed up.

Hours after Shell began drilling in the Artic, operations were forced to shut down to accommodate a drifting 30-mile by 12-mile hunk of sea ice, moving at a rate of a mile every 30 minutes. That’s what ice does in the Arctic—it is unpredictable, unforgiving and moves in with the high winds just in time to ruin a happy day.

A week ago, the Department of the Interior approved drilling in “non-oil-bearing zones” and Shell immediately began drilling its first exploration well in the Chukchi Sea, off the coast of Northern Alaska in the early morning hours of Sunday. The drilling lasted only a few hours before the company took a “precautionary” move and disconnected the drilling rig from the seafloor anchors and temporarily moved the vessel off the well site.

One wonders what would happen if such an ice mass moved in while Shell was trying to respond to a major oil spill.”  More at:


Armada of international naval power massing in the Gulf as Israel prepares an Iran strike

“An armada of US and British naval power is massing in the Persian Gulf in the belief that Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons programme.

Armada of British naval power massing in the Gulf as Israel prepares an Iran strike

The Strait of Hormuz is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point Photo: ALAMY

“Cruisers, aircraft carriers and minesweepers from 25 nations are converging on the strategically important Strait of Hormuz in an unprecedented show of force as Israel and Iran move towards the brink of war.

Western leaders are convinced that Iran will retaliate to any attack by attempting to mine or blockade the shipping lane through which passes around 18 million barrels of oil every day, approximately 35 per cent of the world’s oil traded by sea.   A blockade would have a catastrophic effect on the fragile economies of Britain, Europe the United States and Japan, all of which rely heavily on oil and gas supplies from the Gulf.

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most congested international waterways. It is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point and is bordered by the Iranian coast to the north and the Oman to the south.”  More at:


China, Japan heading towards war, says US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta

Japan China dispute“Speaking to reporters before arriving in Tokyo on a trip to Asia, Mr Panetta appealed for restraint amid mounting tensions over territorial rights in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.

"I am concerned that when these countries engage in provocations of one kind or another over these various islands, that it raises the possibility that a misjudgment on one side or the other could result in violence, and could result in conflict," Mr Panetta said, when asked about a clash between Japan and China.  "And that conflict would then have the potential of expanding." The uninhabited islands are in important sea lanes and the seabed nearby is thought to harbour valuable mineral resources.”    More at:


Asian energy boom threatens Montana ranches

ROUNDUP, Mont. (AP) — “The big mining companies first came knocking on Ellen Pfister's door in the 1970s, ready to tap the huge coal deposits beneath her family's eastern Montana ranch.  Pfister and others successfully fended them off, and as the coal industry retreated domestically, it appeared their battle might be won. But now, a fast-growing market in exporting coal to Asia has Pfister and other ranchers seeing their long-held fears become reality.

This April 23, 2012 photo shows Ellen Pfister inspecting the embankment of a coal mine access road that passes through her ranch in the Bull Mountains south of Roundup, Mont.

This April 23, 2012 photo shows Ellen Pfister looking over a map depicting the Bull Mountain Mine that reaches beneath her ranch as husband Don Golder looks on.

With the once-shuttered Bull Mountain Mine under new ownership, mining activity beneath Pfister's 300-head cattle ranch is in full swing, on target to produce more than 9 million tons of coal this year. At least once a day on average a coal train more than a mile long pulls out of the mine that sits atop an estimated one billion tons of the fuel. Sixty percent is destined for overseas markets, including Asia.

Pfister's biggest worry is that mining could permanently damage her water supplies — a crucial necessity on a ranch set in an arid landscape of sandstone, sage brush and ponderosa pine trees stunted by periodic drought.  "I'm trying to figure out how to protect myself," said Pfister. "If you don't have water, you have to go someplace else."”  More at:


Montana Not Acting to Remedy Toxic Coal Ash Problem at Colstrip

Colstrip ash disposal ponds. (MT DEQ)

The enormous sludge ponds at Colstrip were built in the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, and contamination from the leaking ponds, which cover more than 500 acres, is well-documented. (MT DEQ)

Billings,MT. “Nearly a decade after sludge ponds holding toxic coal ash waste from the Colstrip power plant were first discovered leaking, and more than four years after nearby ranchers and residents won a $25 million legal settlement over the contamination, groups say the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is doing little to stop water pollution from poisoning nearby communities and ranchers.

“Adjacent landowners are sick and tired of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality acting as an agent for the industry it is supposed to be regulating,” said Clint McRae, a Colstrip area rancher. “The impacted adjacent landowners to the leaking ash ponds are stakeholders equal to that of PPL, and they deserve a place at the negotiating table, rather than being shut out of the AOC negotiations that have been taking place for several years.”

“Montanans have a right to healthy water and they entrust the state and DEQ to protect those rights, just as we entrust a fire or police department to protect our homes and families,” said Derf Johnson with the Montana Environmental Information Center.”  More at:


In joining this Earthjustice campaign, John Slattery is standing with all Mountain Heroes in opposition to mountaintop removal mining.

John Slattery: My Mountain

"My name is John.   Some things are better with their tops left on.
I stand with the Mountain Heroes. Let's stop removing the tops off mountains."



Scientists say Sweden’s famous 17th century warship is deteriorating faster than expected

Scanpix Sweden, Anders Wiklund, File/Associated Press - FILE - in this April 24, 2011 file photo, the royal warship Vasa is seen at the Vasamuseet museum in Stockholm. Swedish scientists said Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 that the Vasa, a 17th century warship raised nearly intact from Stockholm’s harbor to become one of the country’s top tourist attractions is deteriorating faster than expected.

“It’s been known for years that the Vasa is decaying because of chemical processes begun after it was raised in 1961 and placed in a museum. But scientists are struggling to find ways to stop the corrosion, and a new study shows it’s happening quicker than previously thought.  Lars Berglund, a professor at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology, said Thursday the strength of wood has degraded by at least 50 percent since 1961.  About 1 million visitors a year admire the intricate wood carvings of the Vasa, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628.”  From:


On This Day:

The first "Farm Aid" concert is held in Champaign, Illinois, Sep 22, 1985:

“It started with an offhand remark made by Bob Dylan during his performance at Live Aid, the massive fundraising concert held at Wembley Stadium, London, and JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, in the early summer of 1985. As television viewers around the world phoned in donations in support of African famine relief, Dylan said from the stage, "I hope that some of the money...maybe they can just take a little bit of it, or two million, maybe...and use it, say, to pay the mortgages on some of the farms and, the farmers here, owe to the banks." Dylan would come under harsh criticism from Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof for his remarks ("It was a crass, stupid and nationalistic thing to say," Geldof would later write), but he planted a seed with several fellow musicians who shared his concern over the state of the American family farm. Less than one month later, Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp announced plans for "Farm Aid," a benefit concert for America's farmers held in Champaign, Illinois, on this day in 1985.

As one might have expected of a concert staged to "raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land," Farm Aid featured a number of performers from the worlds of country, folk and rootsy rock music. There were the three main organizers and the instigator Bob Dylan, for instance, along with Hoyt Axton, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Joni Mitchell and Charley Pride. But the first Farm Aid, more than any of the annual Farm Aid concerts since, was a bit of a stylistic free-for-all, featuring artists united only by their interest in supporting a good cause.

"As soon as I read in the paper that there was gonna be such a thing," Sammy Hagar told MTV's cameras on the day of the show, "I called my manager and said, 'I wanna do it.' And he said, 'It's all country.' I said, 'I don't care. It's America. I wanna do it.' If there was anything more surprising than hearing Hagar perform his hard-rock anthem "I Can't Drive 55" on the same stage that had earlier featured the quiet folk of Arlo Guthrie, it was hearing Lou Reed perform "Walk On The Wild Side" on a stage that had featured John Denver.

Over the years since its first charity concert on this day in 1985, the Farm Aid organization has raised upwards of $33 million to support small farmers, promote sustainable farming practices and encourage consumption of "good food from family farms."”



First, I had to spend some time getting things back to normal, as Ray and I had to move some furniture to get to the cable wall outlets the day before.  We also had to move a cupboard in the workshop to get to that cable outlet, but we haven't put that back yet as we need to do something else behind it first. We couldn’t work on the new cable, as Ray and his son needed to go to the hospital to see his granddaughter, who was in a car wreck.

After stuffing one packed box of dishes into the other box, I dug down in the storeroom and found my box of styrofoam peanuts.  Prime and I had a great time out on the screen porch with that.  They make great cat toys.  With peanuts packed all around between the boxes, I took off for town.  The UPS store’s shipping price to Alaska was outrageous. They also would have sent it Parcel Post for me, to save a trip to the Post Office, but for $14.00 difference, I took it there myself. It was only half a mile away!

containers, and dispensers

Then I stopped at the new Kroger’s where it has a whole wall of nut, grain, and cereal dispensers. You can buy as much or as little as you need.  Organic Quinoa is $3.99 a lb, whereas it’s $7.00 in a box. So I bought some, and also sesame seeds, and mixed nuts.



Omega j8003 juicer

My Omega auger juicer, , had a good workout yesterday.  I made sesame butter (tahini), mixed-nut butter, and Gouda and salsa cheese spread, as well as my usual veggie and fruit juices. 

The nut butters are so yummy when they are home made, I could hardly keep myself from dipping in them all day.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

I love making juice, but I love drinking it even more.