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Biomass utility project update

by paul spencer Wed Mar 11th, 2015 at 02:02:19 PM EST

For those who don't know, I have 3 partners in an LLC, and we have been working on the following project for the last 3 years. Looks like we are getting close.

Here is our latest update report. It re-introduces some of the history of the project as a device to remind folks on our e-mail list about certain development details, since I only send out an update about every 6 months or so.

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LQD from Rocky Mountain Institute

by paul spencer Wed Feb 12th, 2014 at 01:44:48 AM EST

Most of my experience with these folks finds them to be quite sane and often just enough ahead of conventional wisdom to help to shape it. This article is eurocentric, so I'm very curious as to y'all's critiques.

front-paged by afew

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Campaign request to the Netroots [UPDATE]

by paul spencer Thu Oct 11th, 2012 at 12:16:41 PM EST

I'm going to publish the diary that I described in an ET diary (September 7) in the Daily Kos on this coming Monday at 14:00 GMT (07:00, my time - PDT). I'd appreciate it if everyone here with a DKos log-in would 'recommend' it. I'm just leaving in a part of the original diary below to remind you of the basic points raised.

Four of our group of five now have donations tabs; 3 on ActBlue, 1 on his campaign web-site. I can't wait any longer for the fifth.

Excerpts from the September ET diary are below:

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Campaign request to the Netroots [UPDATE]

by paul spencer Thu Oct 11th, 2012 at 11:49:38 AM EST

I'm going to publish the diary that I described in an ET diary (September 7) in the Daily Kos on this coming Monday at 14:00 GMT (07:00, my time - PDT). I'd appreciate it if everyone here with a DKos log-in would 'recommend' it. I'm just leaving in a part of the original diary below to remind you of the basic points raised.

Four of our group of five now have donations tabs; 3 on ActBlue, 1 on his campaign web-site. I can't wait any longer for the fifth.

Excerpts from the September ET diary are below:

Read more... (5 comments, 523 words in story)

I'm from the government,

by paul spencer Thu Jun 7th, 2012 at 02:22:22 AM EST

and I'm here to help. Well, the first part isn't quite true yet, but the second part is a simple summation of my life.

Y'all might remember that I ran for an office in the Washington State Legislature in 2010. Here's a link to my post-election diary .

So - it's a serious campaign this year. As stated in the linked diary: "The outcome was fully expected, due to the history of the last 20 years in rural WA. Going forward, though, folks are aware that I'm running again in 2012; and they're aware that I'm a stand-up progressive Democrat, who promotes similar policies to the ones that created a Democratic Party majority here from the '30s to the early '90s."

Some of the reasons that the 2010 outcome was expected was that the Tea Party uprising was at its peak, that there was no nation-wide or state-wide election to motivate the Party troops, and that many independents were disappointed in the President's (and the Democratic Congress') general acquiescence to Bush' policies.

Some of the changes that should improve my prospects for election in 2012 are that there are nation-wide and state-wide elections, that the Republican Party is showing sectarian strain, and that many independents now identify Republicans as "the Party of No". (A recent small-business survey showed a strong majority denouncing partisan division in government. One thing that the Obama administration does well - acting the adult in the kindergarten.)

On the Legislative District level, this year's re-districting brings the Republican incumbents into our area as virtual unknowns. In addition the foci of the relevant issues change from almost purely agricultural matters to renewable-energy, tourism, and forests.

My opponent for Position One, House of Representatives is an even older retired guy than me. He's a nice guy from all accounts and entirely ineffective in the Legislature. A Yakama friend of mine is running against a known asshole for Position Two.

As stated, this time it's serious. True to my wonkish nature, my strategy is based on writing 8 bi-weekly, quarter-page ads in the relevant local newspapers. The ads will primarily be issue papers, and the target is the independents who read newspapers (fairly common in the rural U.S.). The Democratic Party base is mostly the responsibility of the "Coordinated Campaign" - meaning the hired staff for the combined campaigns of the President, Senator Maria Cantwell, and our candidates for Governor and most of the other State executive offices.

Here's my basic campaign stance (not changed much from 2010):

"Paul Spencer retired in 2008 from a career in manufacturing, starting 'on the floor' in 1971, working into supervision in both production and technical fields. He is familiar with the state and federal laws that cover Safety, Environment, Energy, and County Government. Homeowner in Skamania County since 1980. Co-founder and first Director of the Skamania County EDC in 1985 to promote economic diversification via destination-resort tourism. The EDC was instrumental in the creation of the Skamania Lodge and subsequent tourism development. In 2006 he worked to obtain signatures on the petitions that brought Initiative 937 to the voters. I-937 and related legislation have been major factors in the development of wind-based generation of electricity in our state (particularly Klickitat County). Secretary of the Skamania County Democrats, Democratic Party State Committeeman, and member of the Agricultural and Rural Caucus. Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the Univ. of Texas in 1970. Graduate work in Materials Science (Metallurgy). Honorable Discharge from the US Air Force in 1968.

"Major issues for our district include:

"Jobs! In particular, we need jobs associated with building affordable, workforce housing. Also, as our candidate for Governor, Jay Inslee, says:
Support for development and deployment of renewable-energy-based power generation.

"Support for utilization of biomass (particularly forest-derived) for combined-heat-and-power facilities on a small-scale, distributed basis with an emphasis on industrial or municipal heating applications. (Full disclosure: Spencer is involved in promotion and development of such a project.)

"As our Superintendent of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark, has promised, we need:
Sustainable resource management (timber, water, soil) state-wide on both public and private lands, balancing exploitation of resources with protection of our citizens' safety and health.

"Support for public education. Washington is a natural resources state. Our agricultural sector - including our timberlands - must bear more of the state's financial burden in this regard. In return we must redevelop relevant vocational training to serve these economic engines.

"Building a diverse agriculture with an emphasis on local market development, local processing, and high  nutritional content.

"CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) in the Yakima valley appear to be strong sources of groundwater and air pollution. We need to regulate these operations with a view toward mitigation.

"Spencer supports an increase in taxes on the super-wealthy in order to spend on long-term investment in smaller, local business with both feet in our state.  Spend on infrastructure that supports greater energy autonomy for our citizens. It can start in Districts like the 14th, where we have high-quality wind and solar (and biomass) resources. We need 'Roosevelt' Democrats who support small-business and working people in rural districts,

"Spencer's strategy is to challenge independent voters to consider that the rural forested and agricultural regions of our state are short-changed by their tendency to elect Republican politicians in a state with a solid - and stable - Democratic Party majority in the State Legislature. The Republicans are the "Party of No" at the federal and state levels. Their theory is that, if the majority party cannot deliver government, then voters will give the Republicans their turn at control. It's not working. We rural citizens will be well-advised to elect old-school, 'Roosevelt' Democrats such as Spencer, who support our interests and can negotiate with the urban Democrats on a collegial basis."

I have some additional statements on education in the state, Seniors' issues, and public transportation; but the main points have to fit on one page for the various campaign announcements and fora.

Be glad to read any criticisms or additions.

Comments >> (15 comments)

A WA state election report

by paul spencer Sat Nov 6th, 2010 at 03:42:45 PM EST

No doubt y'all know that I didn't win the State Rep election here in Washington's 15th Leg. District, if only because I would have reported that quickly. It wasn't very close, except in my own county - but even there I didn't get the majority of votes.  

The outcome was fully expected, due to the history of the last 20 years in rural WA. Going forward, though, folks are aware that I'm running again in 2012; and they're aware that I'm a stand-up progressive Democrat, who promotes similar policies to the ones that created a Democratic Party majority here from the '30s to the early '90s.

It was rather fun to tell rural folks who have been immersed in Republican/conservative propaganda for the last 20 years that the Democratic-Party-controlled government in Washington state is actually serving them quite well under adverse conditions. One observation that they could not miss: our Initiative I-937 from 2006 - opposed by Republicans and promoted by renewable-energy enthusiasts like myself - has saved a number of multi-generation dryland farmers who were simply going to give up, until they started getting the 'rental' payments from the wind turbines that have been deployed here.

I made solid contacts with the Yakama Nation during the campaign. There are several interfaces that I will husband, going forward. Mirta and I joined a start-up food co-op here in Stevenson recently, and the Yakama bought out a fruit juice manufacturing plant in the last year or so. I think that we can probably help to create a marketing/distribution network for them, starting with co-ops in the Portland metro area and the Columbia River Gorge.

I'm also involved in a Collaborative Group on one of the three districts of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. I've been invited to join a Collab. Group on the northeastern district, which is chaired by a Cowlitz tribe-member. This district borders forestland owned by the Yakama, and I think that I can get them to participate now, too.

My contacts with the hispanic population in the Lower Yakima River valley are rudimentary, but I have an excellent relationship with the Phillipino-American folks there. I also have a good connection with a Mexican-American administrator at Heritage University (a bit of an hyperbolic description of the college), and we're going to start a Young Democrats club there. There are over 3,000 students, and it's a commuter college with a majority of hispanic youth.

I'll add a quick set of observations about the regional scene, for what they're worth:

  1. WA, OR, and CA all maintained Democratic Party dominance in their State Legislatures (the OR House of Reps is likely to be a 30-30 tie, but otherwise ...).
  2. We maintained our Dem dominance in our Congressional delegation. Not sure about CA, but in WA, we only lost Brian Baird's old seat (open due to retirement) to a Republican, but Baird was one of the worst of the Blue Dogs.
  3. The Progressive Caucus of the House of Reps only lost 4 members out of 81; the Blue Dogs lost 25 (including 2, who tried for Senate seats) out of 43 (or thereabouts). Yes, it's true that the character of the district dictates some of these outcomes, but there remains the simple fact of the rather overwhelming difference. There are also the polls and exit polls which indicate substantial dissatisfaction with the half-measures and egregious errors that have been inflicted on us by the federal government since 2008. (I also have some anecdotal evidence for this from my friends and acquaintances.)
  4. Youth participation - that has to be our primary electoral mission now. Every group in which I'm a member is dominated by people in our age group, and everyone of them says that we need to involve the youth.  Boy, howdy, and amen - I'm going there.

The good news is that I have the time to continue to work on various, ongoing projects; plus Mirta and I have more time to explore Europe.  We'll see some of you in 2011, no doubt.

Comments >> (5 comments)

Did I mention that I'm running

by paul spencer Wed Sep 8th, 2010 at 12:49:56 PM EST

for State Representative in the 15th Legislative District of Washington? Since I wasn't elected as POTUS in 2008, I thought that this would be a good fall-back.

Got past the Primary, which was actually a 'lock', since it's top-two, and there were only two of us. The incumbent is a Republican - as are almost all of the rural WA state legislators - who has been elected 6 times. (Thought all Repugs supported term limits - perhaps the limit is 6 terms.)

The Primary was low turn-out - particularly for Democrats, which may be a demonstration of the CW concerning Democrats' enthusiasm level. So the strategy is GOTV. The demographics of our District actually seem to favor Dems nowadays. Obama won my County in 2008 - barely. The potential is actually much higher in the northern stretch of my District, which is a concentrated agricultural region along the Yakima River.

At any rate I wanted to present my campaign platform to y'all for your review and critique. It fits on both sides of one piece of paper, along with a small picture and contact information.

To the Voters of the Washington state 15th Legislative District -

I am running for State Representative, Position 1, of the 15th Legislative District. I retired in 2008, and now have the time to be fully involved in public service. In particular the development and direction of rural WA counties is a major concern of mine. This paper is an inventory of some of my major concerns and positions. Feel free to contact me at   spencerinthegorge@yahoo.com   for further discussion of these matters.

I invite Republican and independent voters to consider that the rural forested and agricultural regions of our state are short-changed by their tendency to elect Republican politicians in a state with a solid - and stable - Democratic Party majority in the State Legislature. The Republicans are the "Party of No" at the state level as well as the federal level. Many are 'heel-biters' with almost no clout in our state government. We rural citizens will be well-advised to elect Democrats such as myself, who support our interests and can negotiate with the urban Democrats on a collegial basis. I can raise our issues effectively in the State Legislature.

Major issues for our district include:
Jobs!
Support for development and deployment of renewable-energy-based power generation.
Jobs!
Support for utilization of biomass (particularly forest-derived) for combined-heat-and-power facilities on a small-scale, distributed basis with an emphasis on industrial or municipal heating applications.
Jobs!
Sustainable resource management (timber, fish, game, livestock, water, soil) state-wide on both public and private lands, balancing exploitation of resources with protection of our citizens' safety and health.
Building a diverse agriculture with an emphasis on local market development, local processing, and nutritional content and with less emphasis on commodity yields.
Increased emphasis on implementation of Firewise principles in and near rural communities, plus a rapid and strong increase in action to reduce hazardous fuels build-up in our forested regions.
Revision of our tax code to replace B&O Tax and most Sales Taxes with a progressive Personal and Corporate Income Tax (Initiative 1098 is helpful in this regard, but not sufficient).
Jobs!

To sum up, yes, I'm a 'tax-and-spend' liberal - in the current context. Increase taxes on the very wealthy and spend on long-term investment in smaller, local business with both feet in our state and no intention to maximize profit by moving operations to South Carolina - or wherever. Spend on infrastructure that supports greater energy autonomy for our citizens. It can start in Districts like the 15th. We need old-school Democrats who support small-business and working people in rural districts, who can work with legislators from the metropolitan areas to rationalize our policies and programs in favor of the overwhelming majority of our state's citizens.

I support careful eco-tourism development such as the Broughton Mill resort project in Skamania County. As long as long-term residence is excluded, it fulfills a number of objectives: 1) one of the last logical resort sites within the context of the current applicable federal statutes; 2) potential solution to the traffic issue involving wind-surfers in the area; 3) clean-up of the mill site in the context of a viable economic project; 4) possible reduction of wildfire dangers along this section of the Underwood Bluffs. This culminates the vision that Phil Crawford, Van Vandenberg, Wayne White, and I had 25 years ago, when we created the Skamania County EDC to promote economic diversification via destination-resort tourism in our county.

I propose positive encouragement and public investment in solar- and wind-based electrical generation systems in the District. Therefore, I support most of the SD&S wind turbine project above Underwood. In addition wind-rich counties should increase careful and environmentally-sensitive regional development of these resources in alliance with their PUDs via public/private partnerships. In 2006 I helped to obtain signatures on the petitions that brought Initiative 937 to the voters. I-937 has been a major factor in the development of wind-based generation of electricity in our state. I will support increased incentives to build renewable-energy-generation capacity in Washington.

I am determined that forested WA counties (e.g., Skamania County) return to the timber management business on federal forest lands - on a sustainable basis. Collaboration between local citizens and forest managers is essential to achieve this via such entities as the Mt. Adams District Collaborative Group on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, which I helped to create. As a State Legislator, I will work to integrate WA DNR's (Dept. of Natural Resources) successful forest management practices with those of our National Forests.

Related to this, we need to add woody and agricultural 'waste' biomass to our definitions of renewable resources, both on the state and federal levels. The state has made a good beginning. Now we need to encourage the development of the production side, since, given current fossil-fuel prices, the biomass alternative can be economically viable. In this regard I support public/private arrangements (similar to New Deal support for rural electrification) as an important part of the process.

In parts of our 15th Legislative District, the impact of feral (mostly abandoned) horses on rangelands is an increasing problem. Legislators from our District must work with the Yakama Nation toward workable solutions. Some may be controversial, such as humane slaughter of abandoned horses, but it's decision time.

CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) in the Yakima valley and on the Yakama reservation appear to be strong sources of ground and air pollution. These, along with other pollution sources in the region, must be investigated by the State Legislature for potential mitigation via regulation and program.

Statewide, Washington has the most regressive tax system in the USA. (We're middling as far as average tax loads, but the ends of our income spectrum are statistical extremes.) The simplest solution would be to scrap the sales tax and go to an income tax. Income tax is typically progressive (higher rates for highest incomes), while sales tax is always regressive (low-income folks pay a higher percentage of their income than high-income earners). Income tax is simpler to administer, as there are orders of magnitude less transactions to monitor. Also, there is an inherent fairness issue within the state. Our state currently loses sales tax income to all of us on the border with Oregon, because we buy some percentage of taxable items in Oregon, where there is no sales tax. Income tax spreads the load to all regions of the state. As a start, I support Initiative 1098.

The wheat-growing region of our state is becoming the same kind of petroleum-based-chemical-dependent, investment-house-controlled industry as that of the corn-growing states of the Midwest. There are quasi-organic, old-fashioned techniques that can brake the current trend toward industrial farming. We need to bring the academics and the practitioners into public hearings to understand their analyses of the situation, at the least. From this information we can make decisions as to the rationality of the current direction and, if warranted, begin to create or redirect public policy.

Another trend is the relegation of our state's agricultural base to the status of plantation. Large parts of the food processing, storage, transportation, and marketing sectors of our agricultural economy have gone to the 'big box' stores and to huge, regional processor/warehouse corporations. I will promote regulation, tax breaks, and related programs that increase the local content of our food industry and decrease corporate consolidation.

That's enough for this platform piece. It's your turn: contact me to tell me your concerns and recommendations.

Comments >> (23 comments)

May meet-up anyone?

by paul spencer Tue Apr 6th, 2010 at 04:06:09 PM EST

Mirta and I had to delay our Europe visit for several reasons, but our schedule is definite now. On the advice of friends we also modified our itinerary to concentrate on France and the UK on this trip.

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Mind if we drop by?

by paul spencer Sat Oct 31st, 2009 at 08:00:55 PM EST

Mirta and I are going to visit Europe again in April and May of 2010, and we were wondering if you might take in a couple of wayfarers for a night or two, here and there. It could be arranged by rental fee or as a home exchange - or as a visit exchange, too. I'll lay out the draft schedule below in case anyone is interested in some such arrangement.

The other hope is that we can meet any ETers for whom our route is convenient. Several of us have cursorily discussed getting together a seminar meeting - rather than a strictly social meet-up. Topics could include, for instance, local political organizing experiences, PTP schemes, or Grand Unified Theory (political Theory, that is). Got to start the new Comintern someplace, sometime. Why not May of 2010?

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Lifestyles of the Unwashed Multitudes

by paul spencer Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 05:53:33 PM EST

Mirta and I spent last Wednesday morning prepping various veggies and fruit: green beans from our garden and blueberries from a local friend/grower for freezing; our lettuce, carrot, and cuke for that day's and the next's salad; collard greens, onions, zucchini, and miscellaneous veggies for stir-fry. Mirta also made the dough and formed the dough balls for 'artisan bread' for the next week.

While I was cutting and washing the beans, I thought about the amount of labor expended over the years to build the fence, arbor, and raised gardens; to construct a convenient water system; to amend the soil; to plant; to cultivate; to harvest; and to prepare for use and for storage. It's easy to see why most people forgo the work in favor of the 'grocery store' - or grocery department might be a better term

Diary Rescue by Migeru

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Some Late-Summer Hikes in Central and South-central Oregon

by paul spencer Sun Oct 4th, 2009 at 05:06:33 PM EST

This diary is too easy.  No matter where you turn in the Cascades Mountain Range of the Pacific Northwest, the scenery is dramatic and mostly green and blue.  It is the case that along the eastern edge of the Cascades, as in much of Colorado's and British Columbia's Rocky Mountains, the Mountain Pine Beetles have decimated the Lodgepole Pine trees (they also attack Ponderosa Pine, but the P.P. are better adapted to fight them off).  So, as you'll see in some of the photos, there are stretches of gray and brown, too.

Mirta and I drove with our friends from last year's biking tour of the Erie Canal to Ashland, OR.  (We make an annual pilgrimage there during the first week of April, along with 20 to 40 friends from the Stevenson area, to see a few plays and to exchange the ambience of the Columbia River Gorge for that of the Rogue River valley.)  Stopped for Umpqua ice cream cones in Rice Hill (which is in a valley), as usual.  (Like Tillamook ice cream in Tillamook, OR, you have to go to the Umpqua region to get the Reserve product.)

In Ashland, we walked a ways up Lithia Park (no pictures) which is an informal arboretum along Lithia Creek, the starting point of which is located just below the Ashland Shakespearean Festival theaters.

The second day we drove to Fish Lake - about 40 miles northeast of Ashland, starting along Dead Indian Memorial Road (just reporting, folks). Again, no pictures, as I forgot to take my camera along on the hike. As in many of the lakes in the Cascades, it's located in a bowl that has been dammed on the lower end by what we call 'rip rap' - large rocks - either by natural slide or by dozer (in this case it looked like a combination, as there are huge slides or rock 'screes' in the area). The hike starts at the downstream side of the dam and is 10 km long, round-trip. At the upper end of the lake, there's a cafe where Mirta had "very good" clam chowder with lots of clam bits. Why a rustic restaurant 150 km from the ocean would have very good clam chowder, I can't say, but Mirta's taste is unquestionable, so there you are.

The next day we drove to Sun River via Crater Lake, and I took about 50 pictures - partly to make up for my failure to take photos earlier and partly - well, you'll see. The first time that our little family of 4 drove to Crater Lake back in 1981, we came from the northern access road. The first parking area that one sees from that side of the lake offers a view of large rocks, tan dirt, Scrub Jays, Chipmunks, and a few little bushes and scrub White Pine. One parks; one walks upwards; in the last five steps to the viewpoints, Crater Lake appears in sweeping strokes. And it is stunning in the most literal sense of the word. Here are a few samples from the western edge:

Then there's Bob with his t-shirt advertising Bull Frog ales:

We hiked up to the old fire look-out tower, and here are the lake views from that vantage point:

Looking North:

Looking West (can you see the two wildfires on the horizon?):

Looking Southwest (the haze is from the two wildfires further south near Ashland and Medford, OR):

Looking Southeast (the picture may not be quite clear enough, but we could see Mt. Shasta which is over 150 km from the lookout tower):

One more toward Wizard Island:

I've got a bunch more, but I think that you get the idea. It's definitely one of my favorite spots on the planet. We moved on to Sun River, just south of Bend OR, which is situated along the Deschutes River. From there we took day trips to two very different parts of the Cascades. The first loop traversed a very extensive lava-flow region toward the West. My pictures may not convey the massiveness of the boulders or the extent of the field, but I'll show you opposite directions from the road, which may give some perspective. First one is looking South, and the haze is from the wildfires noted on the Crater Lake pictures from the day before. The wind had shifted from southerly to westerly:

Looking North:

You might be able to see the dead trees in that picture, but here's a closer view. I'll return to this matter near the end of this diary:

From the lava-flow area we drove on to the McKenzie River (Oregon version) and its headwater, Clear Lake (Oregon version also). There's a connection to the lava fields in that Clear Lake is spring-fed via all of the bare and overgrown lava flows in this central region of the Oregon Cascades. Some of it comes from melting glaciers on the Three Sisters Mountains; and some it is essentially an aquifer that flows and seeps throughout the underground formations made up of many lava flows over millions of years, that are hundreds and thousands of meters deep, throughout the central mountains and the high deserts to the east of the Cascades. Here's a few shots of the McKenzie near Clear Lake:

Then there's Clear Lake itself:

Looking North toward the springs:

It's pretty clear:

Mirta and an average-sized specimen of the larger trees along the trail:

A trail artist with a light touch left a bit of graffito on a Western Red Cedar:

Next day we headed further East to Paulina Lake, which appeared to be a natural alpine lake. Going east from the Deschutes River, the Firs give way to the Pine trees; and the more Pines, the more Mountain Pine Beetles. So now it's time for some editorial comment: yes, 'Global Warming' is part of the reason that these bugs - and the Spruce Budworm - are 'epidemic' (becoming 'pandemic') now. Lack of severely cold Winter temperatures allows more survival. However, the more important cause is overcrowding of trees. And yes, part of the cause of overcrowding has been the high-density replanting strategies, after clear-cut harvest, during the roughly four decades (1947 - 1990) of industrial forest practices on the U.S. forests. However, there's a reason that most of the bug-kill devastation has happened on National Forests, and that is that forest management has been nearly abandoned in the last 18 years due to litigation by forest preservationists. Private forestlands, Native American forests, and most western State-owned forests do not show the same depredation, because dead trees are salvage-harvested (which breaks the beetle's life-cycle); clear-cuts break up the landscape (which hinders the beetles' dispersion); and thinning is practiced (which decreased stems per acre and reduces drought stress on the remaining trees). This last element is perhaps the most important, because healthy trees with sufficient water resources reject the beetles via 'pitch'ing them out - bleeding, if you like. So - here are a couple of pictures of the situation around Paulina Lake. You might note that the trees on the ground have cut surfaces. This is an artifact of clearing the trail and dropping dead trees that are hanging up on other trees:

The good news at this point is that in a forest like this of Lodgepole Pine (almost gone), White Pine (much reduced), Ponderosa Pine (affected but not in danger at present), Douglas Fir, Mountain Hemlock, and Subalpine Fir; the unaffected and less-affected trees are growing and will construct a new forest over the next 50 years - albeit a different and immature forest. Beyond that, it's difficult to predict much; because Climate Change effects are very likely, but the particulars are largely unknown. At any rate, I give you Paulina Lake:

Finally, on the last evening of our stay, I took my regular bike loop around Sun River. You may notice, once again, the haze in the sky. This time we could smell the wood smoke. The wind had changed again, and this time the smoke was coming from a fire near John Day, OR - about 150 km east of Sun River. Evening along the Deschutes:

That's it for this installment. (Front-pagers - please let me know if that's too many photos, and I will edit.)

Comments >> (10 comments)

On-line 'book'

by paul spencer Wed Mar 25th, 2009 at 01:52:23 PM EST

I've taken the policy/program elements of my 'presidential campaign' web-site, updated them and enlarged the scope, to try to create an organic plan for progressive politics in the U.S.A. It's called "You Can't Change a Plan, Unless You Have a Plan", and it's located at changeaplan

It is a very 'bare-bones' web-site at this point, but I've been hanging fire on publicizing it with intentions of fancying it up a bit. If I wait much longer, I'll have to update the whole thing again, and the point is to get other folks to help create and maintain the 'plan'. So - best that I put it out there now, plain as it is.

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LQD - James Speth (Yale University) on "happiness"

by paul spencer Fri Jan 2nd, 2009 at 09:57:51 PM EST

You can read the whole piece here -  http://environment.yale.edu/pubs/Money-Cant-Buy-You-Love  
Money Can't Buy You Love, Or Happiness
By James Gustave Speth

It is very well written and brings a broad review of events and trends.  I'll try to give you the flavor of the piece in the quotes below.

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Biking the Erie Canal Trail

by paul spencer Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 04:14:49 PM EST

I like to visit Niagara Falls about once every ten years on average; so, when two friends suggested a bicycle tour along the Erie Canal, it seemed a good time to keep my string going.  We planned it for the Autumn season to try to capture the Fall colors, too - plus side-trips to see some old Buffalo friends and neighborhoods, some Finger Lakes wineries, Cooperstown (baseball and James Fenimore Cooper), Albany (Nelson Rockefeller's imperial capitol), and Fort Ticonderoga (first victory of the colonists against the British troops).

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A Temperate-climate Garden in Summe

by paul spencer Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 10:59:48 PM EST

I'm a little late with this installment, but we just recently finished our Primary Election here in Washington, plus we had a very active Democratic Party booth at the County Fair (Centennial edition).  The pictures are from a few weeks ago, so they qualify as Summer images.

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Sustainability

by paul spencer Tue Jul 15th, 2008 at 02:06:25 PM EST

Here is a diary that was posted on Open Left by Syrith last year: http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1245 .  (Some data in my comments were under-stated, and I have better information now.) It is well-said, but, unfortunately, it did not get much play at that time. IMO this is a term that is very important to a segment of our potential base that we rarely reach - or touch might be a better term. In the final analysis, all political organizations and movements are coalitions, and the Sustainability folks are very much our comrades.

Supporters of sustainable resource development are almost a missing link in the left/progressive movement at present. Yet this is a true middle ground that can yield agreement, rather than adversarial relationships, among our likeliest allies. Now - I hope that this doesn't earn me the nickname of the Supply-Sider of Sustainability, or some such - but I think that the supply/production side has to be embraced, as well as the consumption side, when we try to define the boundaries of sustainability.

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Two Potential Components of Microgeneration

by paul spencer Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 03:48:43 PM EST

Microgeneration may or may not present much of a solution for our increasing energy deficit; but it's still fun, and it's not counter-productive as a hobby, as long as  we continue to do our personal duty of energy-use reduction and political agitation for renewable-energy generation. Within the category of microgeneration, there are a number of interesting inventions and ideas; but some of them make claims that are - well - unsubstantiated, if not physically impossible. For instance, some 'rooftop' wind turbine designers claim that a device that looks like an over-sized passive roof vent will supply a household's energy needs.  Ain't gonna happen.

So - into that breach I leap. Last year I wrote an article that started:
"I have collected the pieces of an interesting puzzle - an experiment actually.  Y'all might be interested in the results, when they become available.  I should have some initial data within three months."  Well - 3 months have come and gone - no results.  But I do have some progress to report/show - plus I want to introduce an older idea that might have some utility.

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Dog Mountain Day Hike

by paul spencer Mon Jun 23rd, 2008 at 01:18:41 AM EST

No idea where Dog Mountain gets its name, but, during the late Spring/early Summer, it could be called Flower Mountain.  Because of the cold and wet weather - including snow - in late April, the flowers are somewhat late this year.  I hiked it in mid-May, so the main show came on a few weeks later, but you'll get the basic idea.

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Istria Visit Diary

by paul spencer Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 01:05:58 AM EST

Istria is a little peninsula that forms the northwest corner of Croatia.  As most of the Balkans, it has been overrun by many of the major European invaders.  (Avoided the Ottoman Turks, but probably absorbed some of the refugees from points south.  The Serbian resistance that stopped the northern penetration of the Ottoman forces may be another factor in the recent nationalistic arrogance of the Serbs in the face of 'secessionary' movements - e.g., Croatia.) The Romans left stone memorials all over the place; the Franks left a lot of DNA; the Venetians colonized the area; the Austro-Hungarians 'civilized' it; and the Germans forced it into an alliance with the Serbs.

This, then, is a little travel diary of the you-really-should-check-this-place-out variety. Some of the reasons are: 1) it's beautiful; 2) it's inexpensive; 3) the food is local, simple, and delicious (Italian and, I suspect, Hungarian influence); 4) they are almost unassuming about the Roman artifacts that just sort-of lay around the place. They don't seem to have realized the tourism potential of the place - unlike the southern sectors of Croatia, such as the Dalmatian coast, Split, and so on.  At least in mid-April, there seemed to be about 10 of us turistas in the whole city of Pula.

 

 

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A Belated Temperate-climate Garden in Spring

by paul spencer Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 10:32:32 AM EST

With all of the serious matters at-hand, as reflected in the recent diaries, I hesitate to write such an ordinary diary. But life goes on - for most of us - and gardens deliver many benefits in any kind of times, interesting or otherwise.

I returned to the Pacific NW on May 5, took a couple of days to recover, then went to work on the fallow garden. I had turned under the leaves, plus some composted bovine manure, before I left, so the garden soil was ready to plant.
picture


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