Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ice Coated Arrowhead

The strong low pressure system that sucked the moisture laden air from warmer climes into our area has passed, leaving behind a wet muddy mess in the Red River Basin.

Less reported but just as impressive, it also left a wake of tangled branches, sagging trees and broken power poles in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota as it steamed on for points east.

Cook County (the county of my birth) covers the extreme northeast portion of the massive State of Minnesota.

It is bordered to the west by Lake County. The border line runs north and south in the woods between Cook and Lake county.

Bordering Cook County to the north is Canada, our good neighbor to the north. We are separated by magnificent boreal lakes; Knife, Saganaga, North, Pine, Fowl...

This Northern border of Cook County runs eastward from these cold lakes, following the Pigeon river as it falls through the piney woods, cutting into the Laurentian shield.

It eventually falls to the lowest point in Minnesota; 601'.

To Lake Superior.

This 1300' deep inland freshwater sea of gargantuan size, from glaciers only recently past, forms the southern border-shoreline for the region called the "Arrowhead" of Minnesota.

It ruggedly runs from Grand Portage, southwesterly for 120 miles and three counties to the zenith city; Duluth Minnesota. (It is the highest ocean-going port on the Lakes)

Way up at the northeast pointy tip of the arrowhead, Cook county also has the highest elevation in Minnesota. On Eagle Mountain at 2301 feet above sea level you can easily see the lowest point, Lake Superior.

That low pressure system that gave the spring flood to the Red River Valley, coated much of Cook County in ice, some as thick as two inches.

It was extremely pretty, but very heavy and was breaking branches, limbs and whole trees, large and small. Many trees were just leaning over from the weight of the glistening tinkling fairyland coating.

The sentiment that "...It was eerie, you could hear branches breaking all the time in the woods", was repeated by many.

Also many power poles, transmission lines and substations were damaged from the intense weight of the clear, frozen, ice coating as thick as your thumb.

Thousands were without power and many went into Grand Marais, Beaver Bay and Silver Bay to seek warmth and shelter.

The thickest coating was a few hill lines back from the Lake were it didn't have its' warmth. The Finland area and the substation there seem to have seen the heaviest coating of ice.

The heavy equipment is now out working on clearing roads and repairing power lines. The back roads will probably be seeing difficulties at least till fall, some maybe longer.

The northwoods of Minnesota are loaded with naturally felled and falling trees. They are falling around our ears, also evident by the massive BWCA blow-down of '99.

Minnesota forests are thriving. If allowed they could easily overwhelm us.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Flooding of the Minnesota River

There is a lot of rain falling.

Much of it in the very large drainage basin of the Minnesota River.

To understand the Minnesota River and its tributaries (and their very unique geography.)


I would recommend you go read the entire report and newsletters at The River Warren Research Committee {RWRC}

The only waterfall on the Mississippi River is in Minneapolis... The Falls of Saint Anthony, where the Mississippi River falls into the huge valley carved out of the countryside by the monstrous and now extinct Glacial River Warren.

(extinct rivers are identified by placing the word "river" first, before the name as in: "River Warren".)

All the tributaries of the Minnesota River (which lies entirely on the bottom of the big ditch dug by the River Warren) must fall some 200 feet to reach the Minnesota.

In the process they expend a lot of kinetic energy which makes for highly incised river valleys cutting into the glacial till, especially in high water events.

Look at the Cottonwood, Redwood, Yellow Medicine, Watonwan, Le Sueur, Pomme De Terre, Chippewa, Lac Qui Parle and all the other tributary streams to the Minnesota river. [and Mid-Mississippi for that matter]

All experience the big drop and are in steep valleys with highly erodible stream banks of glacial till and gravel.

The Blue Earth River is a very unique example, with FIVE sub-tributaries cutting inland and upstream, and coming together all at once at Mankato.

Read all about it at...

Due to their "underfit" nature at the bottom of the River Warren Valley, the Minnesota and the (middle) Mississippi River are naturally flood prone, sediment-laden streams with wildly fluctuating water levels.

The Mississippi has the Lock and Dam system which provides "flood-flattening".
In the fall/winter, water is released to allow room for the spring snowmelt and rains.

This lengthens the duration of, but reduces the level, of the crest.

Dams can prevent flooding, sedimentation, aid navigation and generate electricity.
They also raise property values along the riverfront with a more stable elevation MUCH less prone to large fluctuations.

Farmers are not the reason the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers flood, no matter what they tell you at the MPCA, DNR, Board of Water and Soil Resources [BWSR], Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources LCMR, the Land Stewardship Project, or any number of Environmental Agencies and government fortified "non"-profit organizations.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Obamanomics comes to Minnesota

Here in the land of the loon, we have for many decades elected state representatives that push a ridged environmental command and control regime.

There is strict control of allowable actions on swamps, lakefront, woodlands, and prairies.

There is heavy regulation of lead, mercury, nitrate, phosphorus, particulates, ozone, freon and many other things.

We tax many activities to fund agencies and discourage certain behaviors.
We have many avenues for THE STATE to purchase property and remove it from private hands. THE STATE is the sixth largest property owner in the nation and they are buying more to remove it from a"risk of development".

Any individual or business interest wishing to expand must wade through a gauntlet of non-profit organizations all living to complain about something or anything.

As well as the many, many, many forms to be filed (with fees) and meetings to attend and planning boards to appease and "concerned" citizens opposing you at every turn.

And if you do reach the end of this money and time consuming trek, you can expect an increase in your tax burden.
If you improve your home, its your property tax; if business; that, as well as corporate tax and probably payroll as well.

(and you probably wont be able to park that unsightly R.V. or fishing Boat at home. The neighbors have concerns you know....)

Often times if you have a profitable operation going they will tell you to stop, or change greatly.

You make electricity?... stop doing it that way, you must do it this way. (even though its less reliable, less efficient, more costly and impractical).

Suppose you make industrial adhesive products, have for almost a century... now they sue you for the way you did things (legally) in the past.

Mandate lots of testing, inspection and remedial action for a problem that does not exist.

Makes jobs they say. Obama-jobs

A local bakery in Saint Cloud was fined for excessive emissions. (can't have that fresh bakery smell contributing to atmospheric pollution now can we.)

Often times, these fines are sent to some so-called non-profit organization that is trying to raise awareness of the despicable acts non-believing heathens like you are committing against the planet.
[Very often lying in the process...truth is the first casualty you know.]

You can understand why our tax base is shaky and corporations are not expanding... nor are lots of new ones popping up.
(Making real jobs.)

And the Minnesota Legislature is in session. Have been for some time. Over five thousand bills entered....

Still no budget resolution. Typical.

One of the big priorities of these Liberty thieving collectivists is global warming. To be combated by reducing Carbon emissions.

I will not go into the bad science this nonsense is based on. I will say that they are using this phantom menace to push some very controlling legislation.

There are many regulations and rules on the books now, based on global warming, that should be removed. Right now they are talking about capping automobile miles driven to 1990 levels (or some such silliness).

They think we need to reduce our travel to save the planet. The planet does not need saving.

Minnesota is also experiencing a budget deficit of about $7 billion and gas tax receipts are down.

So they are suggestion a mileage tax, and a test is in the offing with GPS units in some vehicles to track travel. [coming to a sub-sub-sub compact near you!]

(They also intend to raise the income tax, corporate tax, expanding the sales tax, re-instituting vehicle emission testing, and raising all kinds fees)

They could possibly limit the number of vehicles licensed or maybe limit the number of cars any one individual can own. Or maybe you will be filling in an odometer line on your tax form.

They are also pushing a bill to have all business's file a greenhouse gas emission profile of their operation.
(hmm. It says here you have TWO diesel don't really need two for that business plan you have submitted. And I see on this form that you haven't had the improved carbon sequestration pack that was mandated last year for all diesel engines. As long as we're at it lets review your truck fleet operation and repair forms.)

The enviro-governmental complex is strong, entrenched and ruling with an iron rod. They need to be challenged at every opportunity.

I think I am seeing some pockets of resistance forming, but the very many non-governmental organizations (NGO's)[non-profits] that are funded by government are flexing their muscle and will not relinquish power willingly.

Privacy is of no concern, nor is freedom to these puritanical zealots.

The Sierra Club and the DFL fear free people.

Smash coal, mandate wind. Smash cars, mandate bike trails. Smash freedom, mandate collectivism.

Green Jobs, Green Fuels, Green Education, Green Buildings, Green transportation, Green Government.

We will sacrifice human liberty to "save the planet".

The rights of individuals are being smashed daily by these peddlers of Obamanomics.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lets talk about Flooding in Minnesota.

Spring is soon here and the talk of flooding in Minnesota is all the rage.

Keeping in mind that Minnesota is a vast area with widely varied and unique geography and topography...

Let's go back to basics.

There are about five real big variables, aside from unique geography, that determine the magnitude of a "Flood".

In no particular order, some of the things you need to get a real good flood here in Minnesota are....

1) A wet fall. Going into winter with thoroughly saturated ground with a high water table evident by full lakes, swamps, creeks and rivers.

2) A hard freeze prior to heavy snow cover. A hard deep frostline. The saturated soils freeze and become impermeable down to relatively deep depths.

3) A winter with lots of snow with lots of water content.

4) A strong warming that provides a quick thawing of the snowpack.

followed by a

5) A wet rainy spring.

Each drainage basin has its own situation. Minnesota is large. The Blue Earth is unique as is the Saint Louis or The Red River.

The Red is on the flat bottom of a ten thousand year dead marginal glacial lake. It is a river that drains a large area.

It winds its way slowly on the table flat silt bed, finding the slightly lower ground which, overall, leads north. North to Hudson Bay.

The headwaters of the Red River of the North typical thaws before the downstream half, north of the Canadian border.

Often, the flowing water backs up when it meets the ice dams where the floating growlers stack up and stop flow. This was well understood long before the European settlers arrived.

In the bottom land of the Red River basin, once the water rises high enough, the river overtops the natural levies of the riverbanks and quickly sprawls across the very flat terrain directly bordering the river.

Because it is so flat it may travel laterally for miles with just one foot of increased surface elevation.

And tributary streams from higher elevations may experience the effects of this back up.

Grand Forks is named Grand Forks for a reason.

Water will always seek its own elevation. The farther the fall the more energy involved, and faster falls are usually more dramatic then slow.

But not always.

The St. Louis falls fast, the Minnesota and the Red fall slowly, for example.

Water is heavy, "a pint's a pound the whole world round" is an old truism from the sea. Try to walk across a small flowing stream and you will understand the power of moving water.

Six inches of flowing water will move a car sideways.

To control the water you must control the energy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Engine that is Minnesota.

I was taught four cycle theory as a sonarman. The information that can be attained from the radiant sound from a running engine is rather impressive to the uninitiated.

Number of engines, two cycle or four, number of cylinders, engine firing rate, cylinder firing rate, crank-shaft, cam shaft, gears, turbine, blowers, oil pumps, auxiliaries, gear ratios....

But to tease out the clues you have to first understand how they work. A sonarman understands engines.

The four cycle and two cycle theory is how we describe the actions relevant to the cylinder, piston, valves and crankshaft of an internal combustion engine.

I compare the standard operating procedure of the Minnesota Legislature to that of a four cycle engine.

It is a circular series of events and can be described as phases.

We have already completed the "Exhaust Phase", where the piston rises in the cylinder while the exhaust valve is open, expelling the exhaust fumes and uncombusted fuel air mixture from the last cycle.

Inside the cylinder at Saint Paul the piston began to rise in January as the old bad air was expelled from the last sessions rancor and the elections harshness.

The "Intake Phase" has the piston descending with the exhaust valve shut and the intake valve open, allowing a fuel air mixture to enter the space above the descending piston.

The Saint Paul Capitol is entering this phase and we shall soon see the fuel air mixture about to enter the space above the deficit.

The exhaust valve is shut and the deficit continues to descend. As nature abhors a vacuum the Minnesota Constitution requires a balanced budget.

The DFL valve appears to be wide open and increased fuel flow will be the natural result.

Here come the proposed tax hikes.

From here we can look forward to the legislature going into the "Compression Phase". Like the engine the piston rises with all valves shut. Temperature and pressure will increase.

After that is the "Power Phase" where the fuel air mixture is consumed in a controlled explosion that supplies the energy to drive through the non power phases as well as do the work the engine is designed to do.

The engine that is the Minnesota Legislature is running on a fuel mixture that is too rich. It is tied to an ever increasing load that already is beyond the original design. The RPMs (revolutions per minute) are too great and its been years since there has been a cool down cycle.

I believe we may exceed the capacity for the radiator to dispel all this excess heat, we may see a blown hose or two.

We should give the engine an opportunity to cool down.
We may, the whole thing may shut down for a while just prior to the "Power Phase".

Restarting is always a laborious and greasy operation.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


To anyone looking in on Minnesota from outside our borders I wish to make some corrections.

The air is fine, I was outside all yesterday near Stillwater and it was a beautiful forty degree day with lots of snow melting and water running and the sun was out and everything.

Today looks to be very much the same.

That's not the way THE STATE saw it.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency was issuing an Air Pollution Health Alert.

They have a five level color coded air Quality Index.

Very similar to the much ridiculed five level Defense Condition [DefCon]that was brought to civilian-land after the attacks in New York. You know, the color coded threat level stuff.

But if you really want to see a bunch of goofy, pith helmet wearing, vest clad, map and chart waiving paranoid militants pushing buttons and sounding alarms... and threatening you and your childrens' way of life.... Go to the Environmental desk of any government agency.

And if you want to see some of the real goggle eyed napoleons hunched over maps, go to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

I used to live on a Submarine capable of carrying nuclear ballistic missiles. I used to live in the land of DefCon and Air Alerts, and Water Rationing, and heavy security and lots of I.D. checks, and very limited space. There was a logical reason for these things, especially out in the middle of the ocean, however I ended my enlistment to get away from these things and enjoy life in free America. Back home in Minnesota.

The MPCA thinks we need to live like we are on a submarine. Well there is no need to, and I refuse.

I will use all the water I want, the even odd water days are un-Minnesotan and an abomination, build more water towers, you money squandering bureaucrats.

I will sprawl out if I so chose, and where are the good roads we should expect from the huge sums of cash going to the Dept. of Transportation, even with that huge parasite, light rail, sucking nutrients from the host. There is still lots and lots of money, why do our roads suck?

I will not be quiet. I will drive what I want, where I want, when I want on sea, land or air, and I will be parking it on my property.

I will eat what I want, get you face out of my plate.

If I want a gun I will get one.

If I want to smoke I will.

I will not be worrying about every little particulate, and I will not be waking up to toy alarms over false threats to play commune with a bunch of overpaid busy-body Gladys Kravits.

If you don't like it, that's your problem. And your not my problem, until you become my problem.

And if you work at the MPCA, DNR, U.S Fish and Wildlife, EPA..... you unfortunately have probably become my problem.

Now the well paid irrational paranoids are using their chicken-little alarm system to lobby for more rules and money.

It worked with the lakes and the new sales tax on the constitution for the "outdoors and arts", it worked for the increase in the gas tax brought to you last session, it worked to fund the light rail nonsense, and it may also work to stop electrical generation by coal fired power plants....we shall see.

Look into the unswimmable and unfishable designation given to forty percent of tested waters.

Bah! We are surrounded by clean water... ask Mayor R.T. Rybak (D), his advertisements to come to Minneapolis claim so, and Minneapolis has the "dirtiest" water according to the MPCA.

Minnesota has clean water, clear air, and abundant natural resources, not that THE STATE would have you believe it. Heck, now they're working the mercury angle to smash the Big Stone Power Plant. The heck with the peoples desire for cheap electricity, they know better than us.

If all coal plants on the planet shutdown today, at least 95% of atmospheric Mercury emissions would still exist.

Mercury is natural and is naturally present in the atmosphere, and the fish. There has been fish in museums from long ago tested and they had mercury.

But the war on the elements continues...Lead, Mercury, Freon, Carbon.
The war continues and we are losing.

Here is some data from THE STATE....

MPCA News Releases

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has Issued an Air Pollution Health Alert

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an Air Pollution Health Alert due to fine particle pollution for southwest and central Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Marshall, and Brainerd effective immediately and running through the end of the day Friday March, 6th. An Air Pollution Health Advisory with pollution levels approaching the alert level has been issued for Duluth and Rochester. ....


MPCA Home > Air > Air Quality Index (AQI) > MPCA Air Pollution Alert System Sign-up
Air Quality IndexMPCA Air Pollution Alert System Sign-up

As of July 1st, 2008 the MPCA is delivering Air Quality Notifications via EnviroFlash. EnviroFlash delivers air quality forecasts and MPCA issued Air Pollution Health Alerts directly to you via email or text message. EnviroFlash gives you instant air quality information that you can customize for your own needs, allowing you to protect the health of yourself and your family.

To subscribe to EnviroFlash please visit

Questions about the Air Quality Index or MPCA Air Pollution Health Alerts can be addressed to:
Mark Sulzbach
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Road N
St. Paul, MN 55155

Cassie McMahon
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Road N
St. Paul, MN 55155

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Marching into March

It is March in Minnesota.
Today the temperature will get above freezing and the last snow fall will settle into itself.

The Minnesota Legislature is pulsing with pride and power. Its full steam ahead.

The fresh Federal notes printed for future generations to regret, are arriving and helping to defer the pain and real choices that must eventually be accepted here in Minnesota as well as Washington D.C.

The state House is moving forward on all kinds of nonsense. Including returning to emission testing for autos along with more carbon credit and carbon mitigating and behavior modification programs.

There is much on the "Green/Global Warming" front. "Alternative" Energy, eco($)buildings, autos, billion dollar light rail, rapid transit, carbon cap and trade here in Minnesota....

Based on the phantom menace of Global Warming. We all suffer. and will more so.
There are many ways to ration commodities.

And change peoples behavior. Limit miles driven, business operating, fuels used....

Read the publications from the house and senate. [Session Weekly and Senate Briefly]

The DFL love to set prices and change behavior. They fear free Minnesotans.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

We had a good snowfall at the end of this week. Thursday it fell for hours then Friday was bright and clear (and cold) and all the trees in white. I love Minnesota.

Meanwhile the Minnesota Legislature appears to be on a path to raise taxes or shutdown operations till they are raised.

The Democrat Farmer Labor (DFL) party of Minnesota is in majority in the House and Senate (and Judiciary). The Governor is a Republican who has already had his veto of a gas tax increase over-ridden in a previous session.

D.C. Has Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, Minnesota has Larry Pogemiller and Margaret Anderson-Kelleher.

In Washington they think the Federal government should spend lots more and regulate "better".

In Saint Paul it is very much the same. On both fronts, some organized resistance seems to be slowly forming.

Here in Minnesota all levels of government are looking for money from on high. The Cities want it from the counties, (and some from the State/Feds). The counties look for it from the State and the State expects it from the Feds.

And they all expect it from you.

A lousy way to run a railroad if you ask me, but we've seen how they run railroads.

Saint Paul, Duluth, Rochester, Minneapolis all say they have to lay off police and fire department workers, and plow the streets less, if they don't get their Local Government Assistance "LGA" check from the State.

Duluth is a fiscal basket case after decades of Democratic leadership. Come to Duluth, we have an aquarium.

Rochester after helping shutdown the expansion of a local private railroad through town, is now lobbying for government to run a railroad through town.

The DFL seem intractable on the position of raising "revenue" to maintain "services".
It looks like normal, waste time posturing till the big stand off at the end.

The DFL went on a State wide tour badmouthing the Governors' budget, they didn't have one of their own to offer as an alternative, oh no we're here just to pick apart the Governor, thank you very much.

I see a special session (or two) and possibly a "government shutdown" on the horizon. Which is just a taxpayer funded extra holiday for the government workers. [Minnesota is the largest employer in the state.]

And we've seen the hardball personal politics they play. Dan Ocksner, from the radio station I listen to when at my folks house in Sartell: KNSI 1450am, was denied press access to the Legislature. He had normal press access in the past, but I guess his politics became less than appropriate or some such nonsense...who knows.

And shutting down all staff hiring, not to save money but because the Republican caucus was in the process of hiring a chief of staff. And there are thousands of other examples, big and small, of the "progressives" using the law, or their position, like a club to quiet down any opposition.

Pogemiller and the others are hardball politicians who have no problem at all using whatever they have at their disposal to forward their agenda and take down the opposition.

Just ask Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau

The Minnesota State Government Departments and Agencies are full of people who think and act the same way.

The opposition is strong, organized, and entrenched. The challenge is great and hopefully those involved and those getting involved will realize the magnitude of the problem.

To make any real headway on this I think we need to move boldly and swiftly.
It is too big to chew on the edges.

I think we could pass a bill to abolish the Minnesota Department of Tourism. We don't need the government to entice people to come to Minnesota, they do so naturally.

If not that, how about the Minnesota Film Board.
What do ya say, throw me a bone will ya?