CLIMBING BOLTS FOUND ON 1,000-YEAR-OLD PETROGLYPHS IN UTAH ~ The Colorado Sun

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The line of bolts was inserted into the middle of a large rock-art image left by Indigenous people more than 1,000 years ago

The Associated Press

Apr 17, 2021

(Unsplash photo)

COLORADO SPRINGS — Federal public lands officials are investigating after climbing bolts damaged an ancient petroglyph site near Moab, Utah.

The line of bolts was inserted into the middle of a large rock-art image left by Indigenous people more than 1,000 years ago, climber Darrin Reay told the Colorado Springs Gazette. He saw the bolts last week on the outcrop known as Sunshine Wall north of Arches National Park.

Reay said he was was “horrified and angry.” Reports of the damage online sparked a storm of outrage. The bolts have since been removed, but damage to the petroglyphs is forever, said Elizabeth Hora, archaeologist for the Utah State Historic Preservation Office.

She said it’s heartbreakingly common around the state where Ancestral Puebloans and Fremont people left their marks. And vandalism increased over the last year, as more people flocked to the outdoors during the coronavirus pandemic, she said. Still, “we firmly believe here in our office that shaming and blaming is not the way to make change.”

A Colorado Springs man, 36-year-old Richard Gilbert, took responsibility in an interview with the Gazette. He said he mistook the rock art for graffiti when he placed the bolts used by climbers to anchor their clips. When he realized what he had done, he said he reported to a ranger at Moab’s Bureau of Land Management field office.

The agency declined to provide details to the newspaper or confirm whether Gilbert was behind the damage, calling it an active investigation. Officials did warn people against “harassment or threatening behavior.”

Under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, first-time violators could be fined up to $20,000 and imprisoned for up to one year.

Gilbert said he typically puts in climbing bolts to help young climbers or those with disabilities. Bolting for low-grade routs is generally frowned upon in climbing circles.

“Mistakes are made, and that doesn’t make it any better, I know,” Gilbert said. “It’s not. I made a mistake.”

Colorado River Basin’s snowpack season earns low grades: Bad news for water in the West

The lack of water worsens drought conditions, fire potential and could impact agriculture

An empty irrigation canal lines a tree farm in Corrales, N.M., in February, as snow covers the Sandia Mountains in the background. (Susan Montoya Bryan, FAP)

By Becky Bolinger

April 16, 2021

The snowpack season is ending in the Colorado River Basin as the spring melt is underway. If we take stock of the water supply over this vast basin, a critical resource for millions of people in the West, the news is not good.

The snowpack season, so important for the storage of water that can be tapped during the dry summer months, fell well short of expectations. The consequences of the shortfall for the basin, encompassing Arizona and parts of six other states, from Wyoming to California, are major.

1. There is an increased risk for large wildfires that can devastate state and national forests, reduce summer recreation activities, compromise air quality for large areas of the country and put populations near the urban-forest intersections in danger.

2. The reduced water supply affects municipal and agricultural water users not only within the basin’s 246,000 square miles, but also outside it, including Denver, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

3. Prolonged drought could ultimately affect food supply, causing reductions in crop yields and livestock herds.

To put this season in perspective, I’ve made a report card of the various indicators of snowpack to illustrate why the low grades are so serious.

Drought-plagued California and western U.S. may see another devastating fire season

The snowpack itself: C

The snowpack picture seemed promising at times in recent months, especially in February when several storms unloaded hefty snows. Even now, some late season snow in the northern part of the basin is working in some extra credit. But it’s not enough.

At the headwaters of the Colorado River, the snowpack peaked on April 2, about 10 days ahead of average. Since then, more than two inches of water have melted. In fact, since the beginning of April, the majority of stations in the upper Colorado River basin have seen melt rates between 2 and 6 inches. When the snowpack peaks and melts early it often portends a lower water supply during the dry season.

Indeed, throughout the entire Colorado River Basin, snowpack values peaked at levels well below average. From the Upper Green Basin in Wyoming and south through Utah and Colorado, many locations peaked in the bottom 25th percentile.

Soils: F

Soils have been the problem child since the very beginning of the water season, when the summer-fall monsoon was essentially a no-show

If the monsoon had provided the needed moisture in June-September to the lower part of the basin and the southern portion of the upper basin, healthy soils would have been locked in during the cold season. But without the monsoon moisture, the basin went into the snowy part of the season with dry soil, essentially saddling the water supply with a debt that is far from being repaid.

Streams: D

Stream flow data doesn’t look too bad at the moment. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the percent of the upper part of the basin observing near normal flow conditions has actually increased from 21 percent to 42 percent. But don’t let that deceive you.

Late in the water season, streams often appear to be doing better than they actually are. So, what’s happening?

(U. S. Geological Survey) 

Check out the hydrograph (above) from the Colorado River at the Colorado-Utah state line. The black line shows the average flow in recent months, compared with historical values (indicated by the colored shading).

Back at the beginning of March, flows were in the brown shading, ranking in the bottom 10th percentile. More recently, you can see that flows have bumped up to the yellow category, slightly improved from the brown. But this bump is mainly due to an early rise toward the peak. That early rise has been kicked off by early melting of the snow. The “improvement” is only an artifact of the early snow melt and will not be sustained.

Reservoirs: D

The water stored in reservoirs is akin to the output of a group project, contingent on the performance of its contributors. Since snow quantities, soil moisture and streams underachieved, reservoirs also end up with a low grade.

Forecast water supply in the Colorado River water basin made April 1. (Colorado Basin River Forecast Center) 

According to the April 1 water supply forecast, published by the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, all of the Colorado River Basin will experience below-average water supply.

Across the Lower Colorado River, water supply accumulations began in January and most of the snow has completely melted. For the Lower Basin and southern half of the Upper Basin, water supplies are expected to be below 50 percent of average. Lake Powell inflows are forecast at 38 percent of average, a deficit of almost 4 million acre-feet! For perspective, current levels are already 6 million acre-feet below what they should be right now.

Further north, the forecast is marginally better, with water supply expected to be between 50 and 70 percent.

These low forecasts are largely based on less than stellar snowpack conditions, but dry soil moisture conditions at the beginning of the season are also considered. According to Cody Moser of the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, antecedent soil moisture conditions can make a 5 to 10 percent difference in predicted runoff.

Lake Powell, which represents the majority of the Upper Colorado River Basin’s water supply, has still not recovered from the drought in the early 2000s. It takes more hits from each new drought. The system had a nice recovery from the 2018 drought, but still hasn’t made up lost ground from another drought in 2012-2013. Unfortunately, we’ll put 2021 down as another year to further deplete this system.

Becky Bolinger is the assistant state climatologist for Colorado and a research scientist at Colorado State University.

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

What a trippy film. It examines various situational narratives which I think most women have experienced (male macho energy) in one form or another. A very dark and humorous comedy.

rŌbert

~~~ WATCH TRAILER ~~~

Emerald Fennell, director/writer on Promising Young Woman (2020)] How dedicated and brilliant every single person was who came on board, and they all did it because they believed in it. It was a low-budget, 23-day shoot with a first-time director. Their hard work has been rewarded. I’m especially so proud of Carey Carey Mulligan, who is truly the best person in the world. She is the film.

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Promising Young Woman is a 2020 black comedy thriller film starring Carey Mulligan as a woman who seeks to avenge the death of her best friend, who was a victim of rape. Bo BurnhamAlison BrieClancy BrownJennifer CoolidgeLaverne Cox, and Connie Britton co-star. The film was written and directed by Emerald Fennell in her feature directorial debut.

Promising Young Woman had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020, and was theatrically released in the United States on December 25, 2020, by Focus Features. It received positive reviews, with praise for its screenplay, its direction, and Mulligan’s performance. The film earned five nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best PictureBest Director, and Best Actress for Mulligan. It was named one of the ten best films of 2020 by the National Board of Review, with Mulligan also winning Best Actress, received four nominations at the 78th Golden Globe Awards, and six nominations at the 74th British Academy Film Awards, where it won Outstanding British Film and Best Original Screenplay.

Avlon compares Tucker Carlson’s comments to George Wallace ~ CNN

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~~~ LISTEN ~~~

CNN’s John Avlon looks at Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and his defense of the ‘great replacement’ theory. Where did the racist theory start and what does it have to do with the Capitol riot?

everything I have learned from snow ~ Bernie Arndt

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What ever I think I know
inevitably turns out to be
untrue,
incomplete
or just plain wrong.

Affairs of the heart
burn so hot
as to overwhelm
most other knowledge.
And, as alchemists do, the heart
transforms everything it encounters
into its own notion of Truth.

Bernie Arndt (1949 – )

Alexey Kljatov snowflake photos
crédito total, Burnham Arndt Esq.

Gospel Singer Elizabeth King Hits A Musical Milestone At 77

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At the age of 77, Memphis sacred soul singer Elizabeth King is releasing her first full-length album, Living in the Last Days. She talks about it with NPR’s Debbie Elliott.

~~~ LISTEN ~~~

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Letters From An American

April 16, 2021

Heather Cox RichardsonApr 17

Today, news broke that a number of pro-Trump House Republicans, including Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Paul Gosar (R-AZ), are organizing the “America First Caucus,” which calls for “a degree of ideological flexibility, a certain intellectual boldness… to follow in President Trump’s footsteps, and potentially step on some toes and sacrifice sacred cows for the good of the American nation.”

The seven-page document outlining their ideas, obtained by Punchbowl News, is a list of the grievances popular in right-wing media. It calls for regulation of “Big Tech,” which right-wing commentators claim is biased against them; an end to coronavirus lockdowns, which the authors say “have ruined many businesses to bankruptcy such that many Americans are left unemployed and potentially destitute”; opposition to “wasteful social justice programs like the Green New Deal”; support for oil and gas; and rejection of “globalist institutions.”

And, with extraordinary clarity, it shows the ideology that underpins these positions, an ideology eerily reminiscent of that of the elite slaveholders of the 1850s American South. 

“America was founded on the basis of individual and state sovereignty,” the document says, but that federalism has been undermined by decadent and corrupt bureaucrats in Washington. The authors propose to get rid of regulation and the regulatory state, thus restoring individual freedom. This is the exact argument that animated elite slaveholders, who vowed to keep the national government small so it could not intrude on their institution of human enslavement. 

The authors of the America First Caucus platform lay out very clearly the racial argument behind the political one. America, the authors write, is based on “a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions,” and “mass immigration” must be stopped. “Anglo-Saxon” is an old-fashioned historical description that has become a dog whistle for white supremacy. Scholars who study the Medieval world note that visions of a historical “white” England are fantasies, myths that are set in an imaginary past. 

This was a myth welcome to pre-Civil War white southerners who fancied themselves the modern version of ancient English lords and used the concept of “Anglo-Saxon” superiority to justify spreading west over Indigenous and Mexican peoples. It was a myth welcome in the 1920s to members of the Ku Klux Klan, who claimed that “only as we follow in the pathway of the principles of our Anglo-Saxon father and express in our life the spirit and genius of their ideals may we hope to maintain the supremacy of the race, and to perpetuate our inheritance of liberty.” And it is a myth that appeals to modern-day white supremacists, who imitate what they think are ancient crests for their clothing, weapons, and organizations. 

Emphasizing their white nationalism, the members of the America First Caucus call for “the architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture… stunningly, classically, beautiful, befitting a world power and source of freedom.” They also condemn the current education system, calling it “progressive indoctrination” and saying it works “to actively undermine pride in America’s great history and is actively hostile to the civic and cultural assimilation necessary for a strong nation.” They conclude that “The future of America’s position in the world depends on addressing the crisis in education, at both the primary and secondary level.” They envision a world in which people who think as they do control the nation.

Indeed, the document embraces the Big Lie that Biden did not, in fact win the 2020 election. Despite the fact that all evidence proves that the 2020 election was one of the cleanest in our history and that President Joe Biden won, fair and square, the America First Caucus Policy Platform insists that the 2020 election was characterized by “massive voter fraud” and calls for limiting the vote.  

Behind all this, of course, is the idea that a Democratic victory in an election is, by definition, impossible. 

This extraordinary document makes it clear that Republican leaders are reaping what they began to sow during the Nixon administration, when party operatives nailed together a coalition by artificially dividing the nation between hardworking white taxpayers on the one hand and, on the other, people of color and feminist women whose demand for equality, the argument went, was code for government handouts. In the years since 1970, Republicans have called for deregulation and tax cuts that help the wealthy, arguing that such cuts advance individual liberty. All the while, they have relied on racism and sexism to rally voters with the argument that Black and Brown voters and feminist women—“feminazis,” in radio host Rush Limbaugh’s world—wanted big government so it would give them handouts. 

It was a political equation that worked with a wink and a nod until former president Trump put the racism and sexism openly on the table and encouraged his supporters to turn against their opponents. They have now embraced open white supremacy. 

The platform of the America First Caucus appears to have woken up some of the business Republicans—who want tax cuts and deregulation, but not the mindless white nationalism of the Trump supporters—to what has taken over their party. Today House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) took to Twitter to say that “America is built on the idea that we are all created equal and success is earned through honest, hard work. It isn’t built on identity, race, or religion. The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans—not nativist dog whistles.” 

Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), the third most powerful Republican leader in the House, tweeted, “Republicans believe in equal opportunity, freedom, and justice for all. We teach our children the values of tolerance, decency and moral courage. Racism, nativism, and anti-Semitism are evil. History teaches us all we have an obligation to confront & reject such malicious hate.” 

In an op-ed in the Washington Post today, former President George W. Bush defended immigration in our past, present, and future as “a great and defining asset of the United States.” “New Americans are just as much a force for good now, with their energy, idealism and love of country, as they have always been,” he wrote as he described his new book, made up of portraits he has painted of Americans who came originally from other nations.

Will the business Republicans’ newfound inclusiveness manage to reclaim their party? It’s not at all clear that what conservative commentator Tom Nichols calls “an extremely dangerous authoritarian party” will not win out. 

Republicans in the Arizona state Senate today put teeth into the Big Lie when they announced they have hired a private company connected with Trump to recount the ballots cast in Maricopa County, Arizona, in the 2020 election. They claim they want to “restore integrity to the election process,” although the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, dominated by Republicans, voted unanimously to certify Biden’s win and both state and federal judges have verified that the existing count is valid. County officials have distanced themselves from this recount. 

At the same time, though, news is not good for Trump’s supporters. Yesterday, the Treasury Department dropped the bombshell that Trump’s 2016 campaign chair Paul Manafort worked with Russian intelligence to swing the 2016 election, while House Republicans accused the intelligence community of spying on them. Today the Department of Justice launched a civil suit against Trump adviser Roger Stone, saying that he and his wife “intended to defraud the United States” by hiding income and that they owe nearly $2 million in back taxes. It is not unimportant that Manafort and Stone began their political consulting careers under Richard Nixon.

Perhaps most notably in this era of social media, McCarthy’s tweet recalling the Republican Party’s older, inclusive days got what is called “ratioed” on Twitter, with significantly more people disparaging the tweet than liking it. The Republicans are “the party of the Confederacy, white supremacy, Black voter suppression, Kremlin collusion, and violent insurrection,” one person wrote. “The party of Abraham Lincoln has become the party of Jefferson Davis.”