Tonopah NV. A small town that is coming back

Tonopah. Belvada Hotel.
Belvada Hotel is being completely redone.

Tonopah, is about halfway between Reno and Las Vegas on SR-95, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It gets baking hot in the summer. Population is about 3,000. Tonopah got clobbered when mines shut down and is rebuilding itself. The Mizpah Hotel has been lovingly restored to its former 1900’s glory. The Belvada across the street is in the process of being converted into a high-end hotel with ground floor retail. Another hotel is opening this year too.

Sure, there are abandoned, boarded-up homes and businesses. However it definitely feels like Tonopah is resurrecting itself. It’s also, like many small towns, genuinely friendly. However, leftied take warning, this is dark red country where lots of folks probably think Trump is just a wee bit too liberal. So, might want to keep quiet about politics if you’re a leftie. Also, there are lots and lots of guns here. That’s part of rural West culture and isn’t ever going to change. Period.

The Mizpah Hotel was named after the Mizpah Mine, named from the biblical place by, I believe. the wife of one of the founders of the mine. They became very rich, gave back enormously. were completely honest, and hugely respected by the community.

The European-American community began circa 1900 with the discovery of silver-rich ore by prospector Jim Butler. The legendary tale of discovery says that he went looking for a burro that had wandered off during the night and sought shelter near a rock outcropping. When Butler discovered the animal the next morning, he picked up a rock to throw at it in frustration, noticing that the rock was unusually heavy. He had stumbled upon the second-richest silver strike in Nevada history.

Mizpah Hotel. Tonopah
Mizpah Hotel on Main Street.
Tonopah. Mizpah Hotel inside.

Mizpah Hotel inside.
Tonopah Post Office
A real gem of a Post Office.
Tonopah. Abandoned rooms for miners
Where miners lived. Historic Mine in background.

You’re living in your own renewable Idaho

Idaho electricity in-state by source

There’s a misconception that only blue states have renewable energy. Texas has the most installed wind capacity, with no one else even close. Iowa is second. Idaho now generates 80% of its in-state power from renewable energy. About 50% comes from hydropower with wind at 20% and growing fast. And they like it that way. Idaho Senator Grassley, who is no liberal, just said Trump’s claim that wind turbines cause cancer was “idiotic.”

Idaho gets about one-third of its power from out of state and is working at making that renewable too. Because it’s cheaper than coal or natural gas.

Idaho Power last week announced it has entered into a deal to purchase 120 MW of solar energy at a price the utility believes is among the lowest publicly reported to date. The utility signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Jackpot Holdings, with an initial price of $21.75/MWh — or less than $0.022/kWh.

The solar array is expected to be completed by 2022, and the energy will help replace coal-fired capacity at the North Valmy plant in Nevada, where Idaho power has announced it will end operations. Idaho Power has the option to purchase the new solar facility or support its expansion in the future.

Idaho Power announced the deal on March 26, the same day it revealed a plan to supply 100% of its power from non-emitting resources by 2045. New wind, solar and other clean energy resources will all play a role.

Barr Letter. Little help for Trump. Subpoenas coming

Jerrold Nadler

Republicans tried to pretend the Barr Letter somehow exonerated Trump. It didn’t. Trump’s poll numbers are mostly unchanged. Shame on MSM which mostly, at least at first, simply echoed White House propaganda that Trump was somehow now in the clear. Several of his top people have gone to prison. Others, like Maria Butina, will be sentenced shortly. Mueller assigned prosecutions to other jurisdictions. So, this is hardly over. Especially since Republicans really don’t want anyone to see the full report. Now why do you suppose that would be?

House Committees will get the full unredacted Mueller Report. DoJ will be made to understand there are three equal branches of the federal government, and legislative is one of them

NYT OpEd this AM by Jerrold L. Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who will issue subpoenas to get the report.

We require the report, first, because Congress, not the attorney general, has a duty under the Constitution to determine whether wrongdoing has occurred. The special counsel declined to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on the question of obstruction, but it is not the attorney general’s job to step in and substitute his judgment for the special counsel’s.

That responsibility falls to Congress — and specifically to the House Judiciary Committee — as it has in every similar investigation in modern history.

He tells us, for instance, that he declined to charge the president with obstruction in part because there was no underlying crime to obstruct.

Did he discuss that conclusion with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — who, while a federal prosecutor, routinely charged individuals with obstruction without charging the underlying crime? Did the attorney general forget that the special counsel indicted 37 other people, including the president’s campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman and former national security adviser, for various crimes, including conspiracy against the United States?

Given an opportunity to win over public opinion after the Barr Letter, Trump instead got defensive and threw bombs instead. It’s almost like that’s all that Trump ever knows how to do.

The public largely doesn’t trust the White House on Russia, and the White House’s attempts at spin may have backfired.

Given that the mainstream media headlines were initially quite favorable for Trump, it could have been a moment for the White House to demonstrate more magnanimity than usual, and to improve trust by appearing eager for the release of the full Mueller report.

Instead, as is often the case, the White House’s strategy in the wake of the Barr letter seemed largely aimed at pleasing their base and dunking on Democrats rather than winning over swing voters.

Reducing climate change caused by agriculture

Climate change. GHG emissions by sector

Agriculture accounts for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions and thus to contributes heavily to climate change. Deforestation for agriculture is particularly damaging. It is responsible for 11% of all GHG emissions, as it releases carbon stored in the soil and eliminates carbon sinks in forests and grasslands. GHG are also released when fertilizer, either natural or synthetic comes in contact with soil.

Obviously we have to eat. And everyone is going to become vegan, they just aren’t. Thus, new solutions are needed. The Gates Foundation is now funding and investing in multiple ways to reduce emissions per product in agriculture. They’ve already put tens of billions into eliminating malaria and improving third world sanitation. Hopefully this initiative will help create major advances in agriculture too.

Bill Gates:

I’m involved with a group called Breakthrough Energy Ventures that is backing a number of creative solutions to tackle the problem. Because every country and every culture approaches food production differently, there are a lot of different ways to do that. Here are some of the ones I find most interesting:

Microscopic nitrogen factories that replace fertilizer. Genetically modified microbes to provide plants with the nitrogen they need without the excess greenhouse gases that synthetic alternatives produce.

Longer roots that store more carbon. Kernza has developed a new strain of wheat with longer and denser roots, so it can absorb more carbon dioxide from soil
Lab-grown palm oil brewed from microbes.

Palm oil has earned its bad environmental reputation. C16 Biosciences has created an alternative to natural palm oil by using fermentation to brew a synthetic version.
An invisible barrier that helps food stay fresh longer.

Approximately one-third of all food produced gets lost or wasted every year. Apeel and Cambridge Crops—are working on protective skins that keep food fresh longer. The coating is invisible and doesn’t affect the taste at all.

Collective crop storage. Not all innovations are technological: Babban Gona is a novel business model in Nigeria that helps farmers hold onto their crops longer.

I wish agricultural innovation got as much attention as the impact on climate change from electricity, because its success is just as critical to stopping climate change. Future changes in income and population may come close to doubling the current environmental impacts of the food system. I believe creative, scalable solutions to this challenge are out there, and now is the time to invest in their R&D.

Rose Mary Woods, stonewalling presidents, rule of law

Rose Mary Woods stretch. Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum.
Rose Mary Woods stretch. Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum.

Trumplings are braying about how the Mueller Report totally exonerates Trump. Except 1) That’s not what Mueller said, 2) Barr is being super evasive about releasing the full report, which is totally not suspicious at all, 3) I think we have a Rose Mary Woods moment coming.

Rose Mary Woods was Richard Nixon’s personal secretary during Watergate. All conversations in the Oval Office were taped then. Nixon did everything he could to block release of the tapes. He stonewalled, screamed he was innocent, slimed accusers, evaded, yet in the end was forced to release them. They were damning and led to the end of his presidency. There was an 18.5 minute gap on one tape. Rose Mary Woods in a comically absurd episode, posed stretched across her desk, showing how she might have “accidentally” erased part of the tape.She was roundly mocked and ridiculed.

The House is going to get the full Mueller Report. And since Trump and Barr are trying so hard to prevent its full release, I’m guessing something quite damning is in it. Just like with the Watergate tapes. The ending will be the same.

Fiercely loyal to Nixon, Woods claimed responsibility in a 1974 grand jury testimony for inadvertently erasing up to five minutes of the 18?1?2 minute gap in a June 20, 1972, audio tape. Her demonstration of how this might have occurred—which depended upon her stretching to simultaneously press controls several feet apart (what the press dubbed the “Rose Mary Stretch”)—was met with skepticism from those who believed the erasures, from whatever source, to be deliberate. The contents of the gap remain unknown. Later forensic analysis in 2003 determined that the tape had been erased in several segments—at least five, and perhaps as many as nine.

In late July 1974, the White House released the subpoenaed tapes. One of those tapes was the so-called “smoking gun” tape, from June 23, 1972, six days after the Watergate break-in. In that tape, Nixon agrees that administration officials should approach Richard Helms, Director of the CIA, and Vernon A. Walters, Deputy Director, and ask them to request L. Patrick Gray, Acting Director of the FBI, to halt the Bureau’s investigation into the Watergate break-in on the grounds that it was a national security matter. The special prosecutor felt that Nixon, in so agreeing, had entered into a criminal conspiracy whose goal was the obstruction of justice.