Monday, July 29, 2013

The Drought Threat:Finally Someone Wakes Up

Todays front page of the Austin American-Statesman's lead story was about the drought, and they got it right.  Kudos to the Editor for having the courage to bring out of Governor Perry's taboo subject list, a subject that threatens the survival of this great city.  It coincides with Perry's loosing his iron fisted control of the entire gevernment of the State of Texas, when he was forced by GOP powerbrokers to announce he would not run for Governor again.  As the article imlies it may be too late to save the city from running dry, but at least now the public has been made aware of the seriousness of the situation, and people can make appropriate plans.  Yes, it put the brakes on Austin's growth, but that needed to happen anyway.  A couple of years into this 8 year drought we had already surpassed the capacity of nature to support the population, yet Perry continued to encourage growth, and all but prohibit conservation.  Repeatedly he announced that the "drought represented no threat to the city of Austin". Even in 2011 he remained adament about this.

His ethically and morally unsupportable position of growth trumping nature and safety has added at least 5 years of unabate growth to Travis County.  This has dramatically reduced the time for an El Nino to bring rains that would have give the city 2-3 more years to prepare for the likely running dry.
As it is we have only about 18 mos to prepare for the catastrophic "running dry".  That is far too little time for 1.7 million people to replan their lives, and government services like police, fire, and medical facilities to prepare.  For example all nursing homes with need to install generators capable of running 24/7, and most will not be able to afford it.

There are many other major problems that must be taken into account, and these can be found in my many earlier posts on the drought.

But the A A-S has given the city a humaitarian warning of the catastrople that loom.
We should all thank them for that.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Uninforced Laws of Texas for Stage 3 Drought

Finding Beauty in the Gross Wasting of Water

Stage 3 Watering Restrictions
Stage 3 of the Water Conservation and Drought Contingency and Emergency Water response plan for the City of Allen, Texas (the plan), and Ordinance number 2760-8-08 is in effect. 10% REDUCTION GOAL is required by North Texas Municipal Water District. Customers must use the Stage 3 Outdoor Watering Schedule Map to identify what day watering is permitted for their neighborhood. The City will strictly enforce water use restrictions. Citations are punishable by significant fines for each violation. All restrictions from the Water Conservation Plan and Stages 1, 2, and 3 of the Drought Contingency and Emergency Water Response Plan apply. As a supplement to the information included here, view the Stage 3 Water Conservation presentation made to Council on May 28.
In the Plan, Stage 3 States: 
  • Initiate mandatory water use restrictions as follows:
    • Prohibit hosing of paved areas, buildings, or windows. (Pressure washing of impervious surfaces is allowed.)
    • Prohibit operation of all ornamental fountains or other amenity impoundments to the extent they use treated water.
    • Prohibit washing or rinsing of vehicles by hose unless using a shut-off nozzle.
    • Prohibit using water in such a manner as to allow runoff or other waste.
  • Limit landscape watering with sprinklers or irrigation systems at each service address to once every seven days. All customers, residential and commercial, will be allowed to water as delineated by the City’s map that will be provided upon initiation of Stage 3. Exceptions are as follows:
    • Foundations, shrubs, and trees within a ten foot radius of their trunk may be watered for up to two hours on any day by a hand-held hose, a soaker hose, or a dedicated zone using a drip irrigation system. (Please limit this to no more than one additional day, only if necessary. Hand watering of turfgrass lawns is not permitted in this exception).
    • Golf courses may water greens and tee boxes without restrictions.
    • Public athletic fields used for competition may be watered twice per week.
    • Locations using on-site well water or properly permitted creek withdrawals may irrigate without restrictions.
    • Water may not be trucked or otherwise transported into the City for irrigation purposes.
    • ET/Smart irrigation systems are not exempt from once every seven day watering restrictions.
    • Exception for the establishment of new sodded grasses. The exemption for new sodded grass areas shall not exceed 30 consecutive days for the Certificate of Occupancy date, Temporary Certificate of Occupancy date, or Certificate of Completion date for new home or building construction.
  • Limit landscape watering with sprinklers or irrigation systems between November 1 and March 31 to once every two weeks. An exception is allowed for landscape associated with new construction that may be watered as necessary for 30 days from the date of the certificate of occupancy, temporary certificate of occupancy, or certificate of completion.
  • Prohibit hydroseeding, hydromulching, and sprigging.
  • Existing swimming pools may not be drained and refilled (except to replace normal water loss). Permits to construct new pools may continue to be issued and the pools may be constructed and filled with water. (In case of extreme equipment failure, or severe cracks/leaks to the pools, a variance to drain repair and refill may be granted on a case by case basis. Pool Companies may contact 214-509-4559 for more information.)
  • Prohibit watering of golf courses using treated water, except as needed to keep greens and tee boxes alive.
  • Prohibit the operation of all spray ground water parks or other water spray recreation activities that do not treat and recirculate water.
  • Prohibit the procurement of construction water ( i.e. through fire hydrant meters) from the City of Allen water supply that will be used outside the corporate city limits of the City of Allen.
In addition to Stage 3, these following measures from Stage 2 and the water conservation portion of the plan are also still in effect.  The Plan states:
Water Conservation Portion of Plan Section 8.4:
  • Time of day restrictions prohibiting lawn irrigation watering from 10 AM to 6 PM beginning April 1 and ending October 31 of each year.
  • Prohibition of watering of impervious surfaces. (Wind driven water drift will be taken into consideration.)
  • Prohibition of outdoor watering during precipitation or freeze events
  • Prohibition of the use of treated water to fill or refill residential, amenity, and any other natural or manmade ponds. A pond is considered to be a still body of water with a surface area of 500 square feet or more.
  • Rain and freeze sensors and/or ET or Smart controllers required on all new irrigation systems. Rain and freeze sensors and/or ET or Smart controllers must be maintained to function properly.
  • “At home” car washing can be done only when using a hose with a shut-off nozzle.

Down the hill and into the gutter the water goes

Saturday, July 20, 2013

American Mania: When More is Not Enough

Response to email by Lee Pedersen
July 18, 2013

Concerning professional athletes salaries:
Lee, well said. A public boycott of professional sports is in order.  The twisted values these "sports" are teaching our children: Greed. Greed.  Greed.

Unfortunately, the masses lives are so hallow that they are addicted to this drivel to the extent that, like all addicts, they are unable to stop using without help.  The health care professionals are almost as addicted.  Breaking our national addiction to TV and the media's (all owned by the super rich) constant message of CONSUME CONSUME CONSUME, which used to be limited to junk no one needed, but is now the major source of keeping the masses distracted from issues that really matter. The mass media has expanded to control our values through the heroin like addiction of TV.  If anyone thinks that profound change in this country without FiRST dealing successfully curbing our TV addiction, is just plain delusional. As of the most resent census the hours per day watched by American is STILL on the increase.  Those that oppose TV on the basis of content, have missed McCluhn’s main point, which is contained in his most influential book “The Medium Is the Message”.  If a person does not understand the title, they simply do not understand the profound revelation contained within.

In addition, any such efforts focusing on content amount to another distraction to the root problem, which leads us further and further from a solution that can work.  When the mass media starts a major propaganda campaign touting the benefits of television, then we will know we are on the right track.  These statements are not mere philosophical ramblings, but come from hard science.  Marshall McCluhan's predictions that TV would make us mentally ill in the late '50s, was proven by breathtaking breakthrough after breakthrough of the science of the biology of the brain and how profound these understanding demonstrated how these understandings effected human behavior.

By c. 2003, the sum total of the research from genetics, psychiatry and neurophysiology has turned our ideas about human behavior upside down.  Unfortunately, these cutting edge researchers in these fields of study was moving so fast, the participants barely have time to publish scientific papers, much less writing to inform the general public of the profound nature of their work, there is little in print to help up grasp what has happened and what is continuing to happen.  The best book is "American Mania: When More is Not Enough." by Peter Whybrow, first published in 2005, and updated (slightly) and re-released in 2011.  If this essay grabs your interest, please read this book and “The Medium is the Message”

BTW  Peter Whybrow also wrote the definitive book on depression: “A Mood Apart” in the early 90’s.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Not to Worry Women of Texas

The Sentinel Light of Hope with the Flare Representing It's Many Positive Unanticipated Effects

The current frantic effort by the GOP to pass the ludicrous "bill" that would make abortions available to  only a very few women, is an act of desperate effort by a party without leadership and that has nothing to offer the people of Texas except destruction, is not to be feared.  The response of the women of Texas is heart warming and a wonderful sign that the 20 year "rule" of the GOP and rick Perry is coming to an end.  Even moderate republicans cannot tolerate the iron handed ways of Perry and they have forced him to not run for another run for office.  Believe me, sociopaths like Perry do not give up or listen to reason.  The Republicans had to force him out with the same "take no prisoners" back door meetings that he has used to destroy much of what is good about the state.

More could be said about this, but the message I wish to impart is that this mish mash bill, is unconstitutional in so many ways, it will withstand a legal challenge even within the State of Texas.  Most obvious is that these dimwitted legislatures are proposing amounts to practicing medicine without a licence.  Trying to dictate what conditions are medically suitable for an abortion, is a medical decision.  By law, only doctors can make this decision.  It is that simple.

So keep raising hell with these men who are unfit for office, and VOTE EVERY ONE OF THEM OUT OF OFFICE NEXT ELECTION.  This act of desperation of denying women their rights to control their bodies, is actually a gift.  There is finally a major protest against the GOP in Texas which has turned the state into the most corrupt State in the country.  Austin will run out of water and the city will be destroyed, but that may be too late for the next election.

So, rock on women of Texas for taking the lead in protesting loudly the party that has nothing to offer except destruction.

I tip my Stetson to you.