Lake Mead and Lake Powell get water, more needed

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The major amounts of rain and snow this winter will boost water levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell, and this is good news indeed. However more is definitely needed and these crucial lakes are still historically low.

Plus, because the politics of the Colorado River are always more convoluted that they might seem,  needed water this year could mean less emphasis for negotiating the Drought Contingency Plan which would cut water use in the Lower Basin and plan for shortfalls in the Upper Basin. Long-term, that could be a problem.

For those trying to get the damn deal done, the big snowpack is a setback.

So it’s worth reminding ourselves where we’re at. From the perspective of the last few years, a 4 million acre feet bump is great news. But as the graph above makes clear, we’ll still end up the water year down 20 million acre feet from the start of the 21st century. We’re along way from being out of the hole.

Yes, Milo was targeted. And it worked

Milo’s looning, preening, and deliberately outrageous statements absolutely gave those targeting lots to work with. It should be noted the hit was done by the right. McMullin is an ex-CIA neocon. Maybe this was a test run to take down Bannon?

As for Milo’s future. He’s been slammed by Breitbart, CPAC, National Review and more on the right. Does he still have supporters? Sure. But he has way fewer now. Doors that were open to him on the right are now slammed shut.

Maybe he has a book deal. As for him going on tour, I question if that’s doable. Booking him would require sharply higher insurance and security costs, since protests would be a certainty. Many venues will probably decide he’s not worth the trouble.

Finally, goodbye to Yahoo Mail

It’s hard to understand how Yahoo managed to screw itself up so badly. But it did. There was a time when it ruled the internet. But then it repeatedly damaged itself while Google grabbed its empire from it.

I’ve used Yahoo Mail as a backup email account for years, primarily for recovery emails if not able to use an account like Gmail, Facebook, or Twitter. However, it’s a garbage email client with a nonexistent spam killer. Oh, it says it has one, yet logging into Yahoo Mail every few weeks shows hundreds of spam emails in the main folder. Yet Gmail handles spam just fine, and is free. I couldn’t access Yahoo Mail at all recently for several days because the login screen froze. Finally got into it yesterday, then had to do a password recovery which then for inexplicable reasons, logged me out of Facebook, forcing me to log back into that too. This is just amateur hour.

So, I decided to look for a replacement for Yahoo Mail that was cheap or free, ultra reliable, from a vendor who isn’t going to go away or go idiot on me, and discovered I already had that as a subscriber to Office 365. Hello Outlook, glad to see you again. And goodbye forever Yahoo Mail.

Ginormous Navajo Generating Station coal plant to shut down soon

Photo: Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Navajo Generating Station in Paige AZ on Navajo land generates 2,250 MW of coal power, equal to the output of some nuclear plants. Coal of course is incredibly dirty and is now more expensive than less dirty natural gas plants. So, the utilities that own the NGS have decided to shut it down.

Let’s be clear, the closure is primarily due to coal no longer being cost-efficient and not over environmental concerns. About 750 employees, mostly Navajo, who work at the coal plant and coal mind will lose their jobs. This is a huge hit for them. I hope somehow, someway, new jobs can be found for them.

Salt River Project bought 21.2% of NGS from LA DWP is 2015, raising its share to 42.9% It thought the plant could run until 2044. But the low price of natural gas cratered those plans.

When SRP made that deal in 2015, officials said it would help keep the plant running through 2044 because they could “retire” the Los Angeles and Nevada portions of the plant, or one generator, in 2019 to comply with environmental regulations. That would allow another 24 years of operations at the two remaining generators.

But cheap natural gas has thrown a wrench into those plans. Over the course of the past year, SRP has gone from fighting to keep the plant open to arguing for its closure.

Also holding a stake in the outcome is the Central Arizona Project, which uses some of the Bureau of Reclamation’s share of the power to run pumps on the canal to bring Colorado River water to Phoenix, Tucson and tribes in central Arizona.

CAP released a presentation Monday that concludes it would have saved $38.5 million in 2016 if it had bought power on the open market rather than from the Navajo Generating Station.”

Intelligence community takes down Flynn. Alinksy on means vs ends

Flynn broke the law. So did the leakers. How you view what happened probably depends on your political viewpoint. Glenn Greenwald thinks IC destroying Flynn was mostly vindictive. I think it was they saw him as a serious threat, didn’t have many options, so they used the weapons they had. They also sent a clear message that attacking them will have consequences. Flynn is now smoking rubble.

Saul Alinsky on means vs ends. 1), 2), 5), 6), and 9) are especially relevant to the leakers and Flynn.

1) One’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s personal interest in the issue, and one’s distance from the scene of conflict
2) The judgement of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment
3) In war, the end justifies almost any means
4) The judgement of the ethics of means must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point
5) Concern with ethics increases with the number of means available
6) The less important the end, the more one engage in ethical evaluations about means
7) Success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics
8) The morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory
9) Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical
10) You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments


Gen. Flynn has many enemies throughout the intelligence and defense community. The same is true, of course, of Donald Trump; recall that just a few weeks ago, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer warned Trump that he was being “really dumb” to criticize the intelligence community because “they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

It’s very possible — I’d say likely — that the motive here was vindictive rather than noble. Whatever else is true, this is a case where the intelligence community, through strategic (and illegal) leaks, destroyed one of its primary adversaries in the Trump White House.

But no matter. What matters is not the motive of the leaker but the effects of the leak. Any leak that results in the exposure of high-level wrongdoing — as this one did — should be praised, not scorned and punished.

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