Coyote Gulch


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  Friday, April 27, 2007


Josh Marshall: "With Harry Reid's controversial 'war is lost' quote and with various other pols weighing in on whether we can 'win' or whether it's 'lost', it's a good time to consider what the hell we're actually talking about. Frankly, the whole question is stupid. Or at least it's a very stilted way of understanding what's happening, geared to guarantee President Bush's goal of staying in Iraq forever...

"This is the key point: right near the beginning of this nightmare it was clear the sole remaining premise for the war was false: that is, the idea that the Iraqis would freely choose a government that would align itself with the US and its goals in the region. As the occupation continued, anti-American sentiment -- both toward the occupation and America's role in the world -- has only grown. I would submit that virtually everything we've done in Iraq since mid-late 2003 has been an effort to obscure this fact. And our policy has been one of continuing the occupation to create the illusion that this reality was not in fact reality. In short, it was a policy of denial."

Be sure to read the whole article.

"2008 pres"
7:01:11 AM     


Daily Kos: "Republican Scandal Bingo: Feeney back in Abramoff spotlight; Renzi may resign?"

Josh Marshall: "As we've suggested many times over recent weeks, the US Attorney Purge story is much bigger than the eight fired US Attorneys you've already heard about. Now we have another case where a US Attorney in a key swing state was likely forced out in 2006 to be replaced by a Gonzales Justice Department flunky under the US Patriot Act. It's looked for some time now like Thomas Heffelfinger, former US Attorney in Minneapolis, was likely pushed aside to make room for the now notorious Rachel Paulose, the then 33 year old whose lavish US Attorney 'coronation' ceremony garnered so much attention earlier this year."

"2008 pres"
6:54:30 AM     

? for President?

Political Wire is running a roundup of articles on last night's Democratic Presidential debate. "The eight Democratic White House contenders have said they want U.S. troops to pull out of Iraq. The initial face-to-face encounter of the 2008 U.S. presidential election campaign produced few fireworks but provided voters' first extended view of front-runners Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama and other candidates in a Democratic race already being waged at a breakneck pace 18 months before the vote."

"2008 pres"
6:51:10 AM     

Web Mashups Help Citizens Track the Political Money Trail

Wired: "Tread carefully, politicians -- concerned citizens are watching your every move on the web. Their tools? Custom data mashups that use public databases to draw correlations between every vote cast and every dollar spent in Washington. Take this report about the widely debated and bitterly fought California SB217, which would have banned clear-cutting in ancient forests. Generated by the nonpartisan website, the report clearly shows that the logging industry, which opposed the bill, gave nearly twice as much money to politicians as environmental groups did. The bill was defeated. Sites like, and Follow the Money, along with wiki-based political reporting resources like Congresspedia, are increasingly giving ordinary citizens the ability to easily document the flow of special-interest money and how it influences the legislature. These new tools are providing an unprecedented level of transparency, exposing patterns of influence that otherwise would have remained invisible to ordinary citizens. "

Thanks to beSpacific for the link.

"2008 pres"
6:47:43 AM     

Cherry Creek reservoir releases may cause flooding today
A picture named cherrycreekreservoir.jpg

From today's Denver Post, "The Denver Police Department, The Office of Emergency Management and The Department of Human Services have alerted the community to a major water release into the Cherry Creek and the Plate River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to release water from Cherry Creek Reservoir Frisday at 6 a.m. The amount of water being discharged could increase the water levels in Cherry Creek and even the Platte River to a point where trails and bike paths could be impacted by water spilling over the banks of the waterways. The Denver Police Department and The Department of Human Services will be checking the areas along the creek and river where the homeless and others frequent to assure their safety. Police are asking all citizens to use caution when in the vicinity of Cherry Creek and the Platte River on Friday."

"colorado water"
6:41:15 AM     

Snowpack: We don't want to warm up too fast
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Snowpack is looking good for the Wet Mountain Valley after Tuesday's storm, according to the Wet Mountain Tribune. From the article, "The South Colony SNOTEL site received 14.5 inches of snow Tuesday bringing the total to 76.7 inches. The water equivalent in that snow is 21.7 inches, or 119 percent of average. According to official weather observer John Piquette of Westcliffe, some 18.4 inches of snow fell in the two towns Tuesday. The snow contained 1.73 inches of moisture.

"This is good news for ranchers. The irrigation ditches in the Valley should be flowing well this summer provided the snow in the mountains doesn't melt too quickly. Even before the latest storm, when the water equivalent average was 109 percent, Natural Resources Conservation Service district conservationist Jim Sperry said, 'It looks like a lot of irrigation water. The only thing I think would prevent a good irrigating year is if all summer we got a heat spell,' Sperry said. 'It's not uncommon for Colorado to get those.' If temperatures reach the 80's or 90's too quickly or for a long period of time, Sperry said the snow could melt too quickly and cause flooding. 'We don't want to warm up too fast,' Sperry said."

More snowpack news from the Pueblo Chieftain. They write, "Tuesday's storm kept moisture levels high in the Lower Arkansas Valley, while providing a slight boost to snowpack in the watersheds that will provide moisture later in the year. The most significant increases in snowpack were in the Wet Mountain Valley in Custer County, where up to 2 feet of snow fell during the storm. Meanwhile, residents in Leadville reported light snowfall, with possibly heavier accumulations at higher elevations...

"[Pete Juba, water resources supervisor for the Pueblo Board of Water Works] said crews moving snow at the water board's mountain sites above Leadville report 52 inches of snow on the level this year, compared with 98 inches last year. 'We're still a little below average, but we'll have enough water to get through,' Juba said. 'We're happy with anything we get.' Snow readings this year have shown levels moving below average in the Arkansas River basin in recent weeks, while staying at about 80 percent of average in the Colorado Basin. The storm increased readings of moisture content on Western Slope sites anywhere from 0.5 to 1 inch, or about 6-12 inches of new snow, said Bob Hamilton, engineering supervisor for the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. The district administers water brought in through the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project and learned last week that imports this year will be less than spectacular without a drastic increase in snowfall...

"For the Lower Arkansas Valley, the storm will further bolster above-average moisture. For the first time in six years, the valley is not considered under drought conditions by the U.S. Drought Monitor, a consortium of federal agencies. Winter snow that took two months to melt left ground saturated, and spring rainfall has been well above average east of Pueblo. 'The storm kicked things up pretty good,' said Steve Witte, Water Division 2 engineer. 'I don't think we'll get a long-lived increase out of it.' Like a heavy storm last week, the storm briefly spiked flows on the Arkansas River and its tributaries. The gauge at Avondale went from 700 cubic feet per second Tuesday morning to 2,200 at midnight and Fountain Creek rose a foot during the storm. Witte said canals are taking flows because they're available, but there hasn't been a great call for water yet for agriculture, especially below John Martin Dam."

"colorado water"
5:58:34 AM     

Colorado River agreement to be delivered to Kempthorne
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The seven Colorado River Compact states are expected to deliver a drought management plan to Interior next week, according to From the article, "General Manager Pat Mulroy, with the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said, 'There are no more winners and losers in this game. We either all win or we all lose.' Mulroy says an environmental assessment on the drought will be delivered to the secretary of the interior next week. It will re-organize who gets how much water from the river and provide a plan to maneuver through the drought years. Recommendations in the report are expected to be signed by all seven states relying on the Colorado River water, including Nevada...

"The price of cooperation may be a tough pill to swallow. The original agreement in 1922 did not account for the explosive growth in Southern Nevada. Nevada takes just 2-percent of the water from the river. California, on the other hand, gets 85-percent and historically has opposed any reduction. Cooperation from the California representative means finding ways to add water to the Colorado River from other sources...

"With each state on the Colorado River protecting what it has, it has taken a drought emergency to push the states to thirst for cooperation. The recommendations from each state will be submitted by Monday, April 30th. Through Nevada's urging, all seven of the states involved are expected to sign recommendations as a group to show support that they are working together to beat the drought. It's up to the secretary of interior to decide if he will accept the recommendations. A decision is expected in September."

"colorado water"
5:48:38 AM     

Energy policy: Biofuel from algae?
A picture named bluegreenalgaebloom.jpg

Here's an update on Solix's operation to supply biodiesel from algae, from the Colorado Springs Business Journal. From the article, "In the wake of rising oil prices and depleted oil fields, several companies in Colorado are focused on alternative energy solutions, and one Fort Collins company is using an unlikely source to create petroleum: algae. The tiny plants can be difficult to work with -- temperatures must be constant and invasive species can fill the tanks, but Solix Biofuels thinks it has a process to cost-effectively mass-produce oil derived from algae...

"Scientists are trying create algae that are capable of producing 10,000 gallons of fuel per acre. Once that happens, oil from algae will be much more profitable. Solix opened December and is building a photo-bioreactor system, which could meet the demand of U.S. consumption of diesel fuel -- about 4 million barrels a day. Solix technology uses the sun to grow algae, capture the carbon dioxide and create 'bio-crude.' Through reducing the costs of energy input and initial capital expenses, algae biofuels can be competitive with petroleum fuels...

"The process is water-intensive, [Al Darzins, group manager and principal scientist for the National Bioenergy Center] said, and that's one of the drawbacks. But algae will grow in saline environments, and many underground aquifers are saline. Solix isn't making biodiesel -- just supplying the crude materials for other companies...

"The company's bio-crude will be refined into biodiesel for specific engines, meaning that it doesn't compete with ethanol research to replace gasoline-powered vehicles. Darzins said that the future for energy is in biofuels -- ethanol as well as algae-created biofuel. And he believes the future is close at hand."

"2008 pres"
5:36:53 AM     

South Platte 'running free'
A picture named southplattewatershed.jpg

From the Greeley Tribune "reg", "The South Platte River returned to its banks in most locations by Thursday afternoon after inundating lower lying areas following Tuesday's heavy rains and Thursday afternoon the surge had continued downstream. The highest flow recorded was near Kersey at 4,600 cubic feet per second. The flow at Henderson, south of Brighton and at Fort Lupton, was around 2,500-2,700 cubic feet per second, or about one-third of what it was at its peak flow on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Tuesday's storm was welcomed by farmers in northeastern Colorado, according to the Fort Morgan Times. From the article, "Morgan County farmers are thanking their lucky stars for the rain and hail storms early this week. 'It was a miracle storm,' said local corn farmer Keith Bath. He said he planted about 60 percent of his crops before the storm hit. And although the moisture will set him back a few days, he is happy to not have to irrigate until this summer. 'One of the biggest gifts that an irrigated farmer can receive is to not have to irrigate his corn to germinate it,' Bath said, adding that he believes the moisture saved about 20,000 acre-feet of water in the Morgan Ditch system. Marlin Eisenach, Morgan County extension agent, said temperatures are expected to be warmer this weekend, which would allow farmers to get their equipment into their fields to plant. He said those with sandy soils may continue planting as early as this weekend, and those with heavier soils will probably continue early next week...

"The storms did bring hailstorms into the northern part of the county, which Eisenach said may have damaged some wheat and corn crops that have already surfaced. But even with a little damage, he said the moisture was still an advantage for the crops. Bath said the hail came early enough that crops will recover from it, and the hail has melted into the soil profile to add even more moisture to the ground."

Here's an article on the efforts to capture water from Tuesday's storm along the South Platte, from the Longmont Daily Times-Call. They write, "A spring storm that dropped rain and snow on much of Colorado's Front Range on Tuesday shot the South Platte River up to its highest mark in at least five years. 'This is the highest flow that we've seen since the drought occurred,' Colorado Division of Water Resources hydrologist Bob Cooper said. In Kersey, where the river carries water from most of its mountain confluences, the South Platte peaked Wednesday at about 8,000 cubic feet per second, Cooper said. Before the rains began Tuesday, the river was running at 600 cfs at Kersey. Its 103-year average at the same site is nearly 1,500 cfs, according to the Division of Water Resources. The data also showed that the St. Vrain River, before dumping into the South Platte near Platteville, shot above 1,000 cfs Wednesday. It flowed at about 150 cfs before the rain and historically runs at 300 cfs this time of the year. Cooper said the high flows on the South Platte have justified a 'free river' situation, which allows junior water right holders to capture water from the river...

"Because of the free river, the district is beginning to fill at least 15 recharge projects, in which it pumps water into sandy ground in the South Platte River basin, he said. The projects will help the water supply in future years but will offer little assistance to farmers this summer...

"In Platteville on Wednesday, where Colo. Highway 66 crosses the South Platte River, water spilled onto surrounding land that was dry two days earlier, and strong, brown flows of water carried huge tree branches down the waterway. 'The rain is really, really going to help us,' said Dave Dechant, a farmer from the Hudson area, while standing on a bridge at Platteville. 'But we are still going to need to pump our wells.' He had two irrigation wells turned off last year on his 3,000-acre farm. The dozen wells that remain are limited by 15 percent because of water capacity, he said. Dechant also has some ditch-water rights, which he said the rain will help. 'But just because it's flooding now doesn't mean they'll be a lot of water in the river in July,' he said."

"colorado water"
5:24:03 AM     

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