Federal Agency Shoots Down Utah Application for Lake Powell Pipeline

FERC Rules Today It Will Only License A Few Miles Of 140-Mile Long Pipeline, Forcing Utah Division of Water Resources to Start Over With Other Agency

Federal regulators decided today to reduce their role in permitting the Lake Powell Pipeline, the largest new proposed diversion of the Colorado River. Since 2008, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been the lead permitting agency for the 140-mile long, $3 billion Pipeline.

In their monthly meeting this morning, FERC clarified they were not the right agency to permit a water diversion of the Colorado River, since they are an energy regulatory agency. The Utah Division of Water Resources has been retreating from the costly power generation facilities of the Lake Powell Pipeline because they have no way to repay Utah taxpayers for the very costly Pipeline.


The Pipeline would transport nearly 77 million gallons of Colorado River water a day to Washington County in Southwest Utah where residents use 325 gallons per person per day, according to the FERC application. Amid widespread drought in the Colorado River Basin, Utah is pursuing the massive 140-mile pipeline regardless of the reliability of Colorado River flows and the impacts on downstream states.

“This is great news for Utah taxpayers because there is an abundance of less expensive water sources available to Washington County for a small fraction of the Pipeline’s cost,” said Zach Frankel, Executive Director of Utah Rivers Council. “Perhaps the Division of Water Resources will be forced to acknowledge these alternatives instead of pretending they don’t exist.”

The Bureau of Reclamation recently announced there was a 90% chance of shortage in the Colorado River next year, which will occur if Lake Mead drops below 1,075 feet above sea level.

This triggers a Tier 1 shortage where Arizona will lose enough water to supply 2.4 million people a year, while Nevada will lose enough water to supply 96,000 people a year.

 If water levels in Lake Mead drops below 1,075 feet above sea level, a federal shortage is declared, forcing water users in Arizona and Nevada to walk away from their water supply.

‘This is sickening’: Sen. Jeff Flake lashes out at Trump Jr. for his post mocking Kavanaugh accuser

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Flake calls to delay Kavanaugh vote while some Republicans dismiss allegation

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) called for an investigation of a sexual assault allegation against Brett M. Kavanaugh, before voting on his Supreme Court nomination.

September 20 at 12:04 AM

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a frequent White House foe, lashed out at Donald Trump Jr. on Wednesday after the president’s son appeared to mock the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

President Trump has been increasingly vocal in his defense of Kavanaugh since a confidential letter that detailed assault allegations became public, but he has largely stayed away from publicly challenging the accuser’s credibility — unlike his eldest son.

Trump Jr. posted a meme to his Instagram account over the weekend depicting a grade school love letter, written in crayon with words misspelled, that asked “will you be my girlfreind” and was signed “love, Bret.” The picture was stamped with the words “Judge Kavanaughs sexual assault letter found by Dems.”

On Twitter on Wednesday, Flake called Trump Jr.’s comments “sickening.”

“No one should make light of this situation,” wrote Flake, who is retiringfrom the Senate at the end of his term. He attached an image of the meme.


~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

The GOP Response to the Kavanaugh Allegations Sends an Unmistakable Message to Women ~ The Atlantic

Mark Twain once wrote, “It is not worthwhile to try to keep history from repeating itself, for man’s character will always make the preventing of the repetitions impossible.”

Senate Judiciary Committee leaders Charles Grassley and Dianne Feinstein ALEX BRANDON / AP
To understand why women overwhelmingly support a Democratic takeover of Congress—a landslide majority of 65 percent, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post survey—it’s worth parsing some of the initial Republican responses to the sexual-assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. The remarks explain why, on the cusp of the first national elections of the #MeToo era, Republicans on the ballot are confronted with a gender gap that threatens to become an unbridgeable canyon.After Christine Blasey Ford, a clinical-psychology professor, put her name to the accusation, announcing publicly that she’d passed a polygraph and had shared her story in a 2012 therapy session, Senator Orrin Hatch, a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s all-male Republican contingent, told the cameras: “This woman, whoever she is, is mixed up.” He also said that even if the assault accusation were true, the past wouldn’t matter so much: “It would be hard for senators not to consider who he is today.”

His Republican colleague Bob Corker voiced sympathy for Kavanaugh, but none for his accuser: “I mean, I can’t imagine the horror of being accused of something like this.” Donald Trump Jr. joked on Instagram that Kavanaugh had merely had a schoolyard crush. And an unnamed lawyer close to the White House said that the alpha gender is under assault: “If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried.”

Come November, these dynamics could have serious consequences for the Republicans on the ballot. The gender gap—essentially, the difference in the way men and women vote—has generally plagued the GOP at the national level since 1992, when, in the so-called Year of the Woman, Democrats won back the White House after 12 years in the wilderness. Bill Clinton was buoyed by strong female support, and the gap was even wider when he won reelection in 1996. That year, male voters split more or less evenly between Clinton and his challenger, Bob Dole, but women favored Clinton by 18 percentage points.



The Summer of Kinky Friedman

“Some of the stuff I’ll be doing tonight I’ve only done a few times on stage,” the country musician, mystery novelist, and former gubernatorial candidate of Texas, Kinky Friedman, warns, with his deadpan, mellow rasp. “So I might screw up. It’s possible. And if I do you’ll know because I usually go, ‘Fuck.’ ”

Kinky has been on the road all summer, quietly touring in support of “Circus of Life,” his first new album of original songs in more than forty years.

“Now, in Europe, when I screwed up, they loved it,” Kinky adds, as he begins to strum. “They all felt it was performance art. The audience here has no sense of that. They don’t think it’s performance art. They just think I’m a little fucked up.”

On a recent visit to perform at City Winery, Kinky stayed with his friend Ryan (Slim) MacFarland and his family, at their home, in Jersey City. “What’s it like having Kinky Friedman as a house guest?” I ask Slim.

“As soon as Kinky walked in the door, with his black Stetson hat and ostrich-skin boots,” Slim recounts, “my five-year-old daughter was in awe. He squatted to meet her at eye level, tipped his hat, and asked if she had ever seen a real cowboy before. She loved it.”

Kinky isn’t, in fact, an actual cowboy. But he is a genuine showman, whose credits as a musician include a stint on tour with Bob Dylan, during the 1976 leg of his “Rolling Thunder Revue,” a travelling caravan of featured performers that included Joan Baez, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Neuwirth.

“For Kinky,” Slim continues, “life is the performance. So he’s always on: the cigar’s in his hand, maybe he slept in his clothes . . . ”

“ . . . and he’s knocking on your door asking if you want coffee at some ungodly fucking hour, telling you that you’ll drink it black because that’s how they drink it in Texas . . . ”

“ . . . and then he’s bringing you a cup of dirty black coffee, and you’re gonna drink it, and he’s gonna sit there and talk to you and blow cigar smoke right in your face and you’ll just deal with it because he’s funny and irreverent and you love what’s coming out of his mouth.”

Onstage, Kinky exhibits similar traits, minus the smoke. The next night, in Jersey City, at the comparatively diminutive Monty Hall, a music venue owned and operated by WFMU, the local public-radio station, Kinky introduces “Waitret, Please, Waitret,” from 1976’s “Lasso from El Paso,” his last album of original material. In the song, a customer politely invites a waitress to “come sit on my fate.” After one verse, the unfashionably misogynistic tune is abandoned, despite the cautious laughter of the predominantly middle-aged and older crowd. “Well,” the Kinkster, as he is also commonly referred to, especially in the third person, proclaims, “you get the drift.”

“You know, a lot of people, when they think of Kinky Friedman,” McFarland says, “they think of songs like ‘They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore,’ ‘Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed,’ and ‘Asshole from El Paso.’ The funny shit. But Kinky mostly writes serious, heartfelt songs.”

Before launching into “Ride ’Em Jewboy,” which has a funny title but is undoubtedly his most serious song of all, Kinky (who is proudly Jewish) regales the audience with a seeming tall tale. While on a book tour of South Africa, in 1996, Kinky met the anti-apartheid activist Tokyo Sexwhale (pronounced “sex-wah-lay,” but spelled, as Kinky pointed out, “Sex Whale”), who was imprisoned in a cell beside Nelson Mandela on Robben Island. Every night for three years, Sexwhale told Kinky, Mandela listened to “Ride ’Em Jewboy,” the first song of the rock era to be written about the Holocaust, from a smuggled cassette of Kinky’s début album, “Sold American,” from 1973.

“Ride, ride ’em Jewboy
Ride ’em all around the old corral.
I’m, I’m with you boy
If I’ve got to ride six million miles.”

Toward the end of the evening, Kinky puts down the guitar in favor of a copy of “Heroes of a Texas Childhood,” one of more than thirty books that he has written that isn’t a mystery novel, to read “The Navigator,” a story about his father. “He taught me chess, tennis, how to belch, and to always stand up for the underdog,” Kinky explains before reading, “as well as the importance of treating children like adults, and adults like children.”

Although Kinky has been out of the political limelight since his unsuccessful bid to become the Texas agriculture commissioner, in 2014, he has not forgotten how to campaign. “My definition of politics still holds,” Kinky asserts. “ ‘Poly’ means more than one, and ‘tics’ are blood-sucking parasites.” At the end of the show, Kinky descends into the audience to graciously shake as many hands as possible as he leads the satisfied mob to the merch table in the lobby.

It was a 3 a.m. telephone call from another one of Kinky’s lofty friends, Willie Nelson, that inspired “Circle Of Life.” Kinky was watching “Matlock.” Willie, who Kinky also refers to as his therapist, instantly diagnosed his friend with depression and prescribed him to pick up the guitar and write. “When it was all over, and we were done with the record,” Slim recalls, “and Kinky heard it for the first time, he said, ‘Slim, you’ve made a senior citizen very happy.’ ”

  • Andy Friedman is an artist, illustrator, musician, and cartoonist. He has contributed art to this magazine since 1999 and is currently working on a book of essays and drawings.

Migrating Birds Avoid Bad Weather — Which Makes Their Paths Predictable ~ NPR

September 13, 20182:02 PM ET

Hurricane Florence has captured people’s attention this week, and it’s a sure bet that this unusual weather is also being closely monitored by hundreds of millions of migrating birds.

This is the peak of the fall migration season, after all, and birds avoid bad weather — which is helping scientists predict migration patterns.

“Where it’s going to rain can have interesting impacts on birds. It can sort of outright just shut down migration,” explains Kyle Horton, a researcher at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “But right behind the storm can be really favorable conditions, so the migrants may take off as the storm sort of sweeps through.”

Using decades’ worth of data on how migrating birds respond to atmospheric changes, Horton and a colleague recently designed a new forecasting system that can predict exactly when and where vast numbers of migrating birds will take to the air each night.

“We developed this system to forecast bird migration for the entire United States. Our system essentially converts a weather forecast into a bird migration forecast,” explains Benjamin Van Doren, an ornithologist at the University of Oxford the United Kingdom.

They call it the BirdCast, and it’s currently predicting the greatest bird migration just to the west of where Florence is expected to make landfall.

BirdCast for Sept. 13 – 16

The BirdCast shows fewer migrating birds in the vicinity of Hurricane Florence’s expected location.

Migrating birds typically move at night, to avoid predators and to take advantage of a more stable atmosphere. For around 75 years, scientists have used radar installations designed to monitor weather to capture information about the secret nocturnal movements of birds, bats and insects.

During the spring migration, as many as 500 or 600 million birds might be in flight across the continent on any given night, according to a new report in the journal Science. The numbers are likely much higher in the fall because juveniles hatched during the breeding season will also be on the move.

Each day’s BirdCast makes a prediction for one, two, and three days ahead. Color maps show the different intensities of migration, with the greatest numbers of birds looking like red blooms on the map that appear just as the sun sets. “These migrants to take to the airspace, and that shows up in this sort of sweeping fashion across the United States,” says Horton. “As the sun is setting, we’ll see the progression of migration taking place.”

He says their forecasts are pretty accurate, and have been able to explain more than 80 percent of the variation in migration timing and intensity. Bird-watchers have started to notice, and are already using the maps to decide when and where to go out looking.

What’s more, the researchers hope their forecasts could help people protect bird migrations by taking steps like turning off wind turbines that can hit birds, or switching off city lights that can lure the migrants off course.

“Having enough lead time and predictive power to forecast where birds will be, when they’ll be in the airspace, has tremendous conservation value,” says Horton.

Birds will likely hunker down for hurricane Florence, and any birds caught in the storm could get blown far off course.

“From the radar perspective, we’ll see birds trapped in the eye. It shows up on the radar signal as being bird-dominated in the eye alone,” says Horton, noting that birds will likely show up in the eastern U. S. that normally wouldn’t be anywhere near there — something that’s exciting for bird watchers, but likely a lot less fun for the birds.

Stephen Colbert blasts Ted Cruz for ‘Late Show’ ads during Beto O’Rourke appearance

September 13 at 12:00 PM

With a little over 50 days until Texas voters cast ballots, incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and his supporters are doing everything they can to quiet the buzz around suddenly surging Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

In recent days, the Texas GOP pulled out a photo of a punk-rocking O’Rourke wearing what may very well be a dress, Cruz’s campaign released a potty-mouthed video of O’Rourke spewing a certain four-letter word on the campaign trail. And a photo of O’Rourke’s DUI arrest has been making the rounds, even though it is two decades old.

And on Wednesday, the senator’s campaign was apparently unwilling to let the Democrat have airtime on a national late-night TV show without some Ted Cruz counterpoint.

As the Houston Chronicle originally reported, the Cruz campaign bought TV ad time on CBS during Wednesday’s airing of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” which featured O’Rourke. That meant viewers in Amarillo, San Antonio, Waco and El Paso who tuned in to see O’Rourke also got to see Cruz’s face.

The ad buy was not lost on Colbert, who spent four minutes of airtime taunting Cruz about it.

“Beto is running in Texas against incumbent senator and man-whose-campaign-staff-is-definitely-watching-this-show-right-now, Ted Cruz, because it is close, which is scaring the Republicans,” Colbert told his audience. “Here’s how scared Ted Cruz is of Beto O’Rourke. He bought ads on my show tonight to counter his interview.”

On the show, O’Rourke touched on some of negative advertisements, including the punk rock pictures.

Stephen Colbert (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

“For the better part of two years, we wrote songs, put out our own records, toured the country and it was the most amazing experience of my then young life,” he said. “Four guys living in a Plymouth Satellite.”

But he also touched on policy issues, telling Colbert that he lived in a border city, El Paso, that has a low crime rate, hometown evidence that President Trump’s arguments linking immigration to violent crime are flawed.

“We don’t need a wall,” he told Colbert.

He also said he wasn’t daunted that Trump would be joining forces with Cruz to try to help the incumbent win the Senate race.

Earlier, Colbert had scathing words about that, too.

“You know it’s bad when you need backup from a man with a 36 percent approval rating,” he said. “Their backup plan to that is a celebrity endorsement from the herpes virus.”