Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Nov 6th Election Camden County Ballot Sample

Update - Results are in!Time to get political, as I sometimes do. On November 6th, 2018 it will be time to exercise our civic duty to vote once again. Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Federalist, Green Party, I don't care what your party affiliation it is your duty as a citizen of the United States, and Missouri to get your lazy butts to the polls and vote. Voting is your RIGHT, not a privilege. Standing for the National Anthem is nothing more than a sign of patriotism, but voting is your DUTY. If you truly want to honor those men and women serving in the military then VOTE. If you truly believe in your country and what it stands for than exercise one of your many RIGHTS, and vote.

Okay? There now, let's get to the specifics.

The above images are from the sample ballot provided by Camden County so you have time to review what's at stake before heading to the polls. Now, I'm not going to go over the individual races for the US Senate or Representatives since most people know who they will vote for beforehand, and we've all been bombarded by political ads enough to know who these folks are by now. But, I would like to spend some time on the amendments being put forward.  There are four constitutional amendments, three statute proposals, and one county specific tax issue on the ballot. First the difference between a constitutional amendment and a statute is an important one. A statute is the specific language that defines a law. Often when we think of something as being a "law" what we're really referring to is a statute, passed by legislation and enforced by the executive branch. An amendment is simply a modifier to an already existing statute, or other legislative resolution.  Clear?  Yeah, me neither, but consider this, it usually takes a 2/3 majority to repeal or change an amendment, but a statute can be changed by a simple majority. In a sense an amendment is more permanent and less prone to efforts to change it. The interesting part is that three of the four amendments were put on the ballot by petition initiatives, meaning everyday citizens banded together to get it on the ballot, and not proposed by legislators. Two of the three statutes were put on the ballot by petition as well.

I'll try to keep this summarized, but you'll notice a difference between the three petitioned amendments and the one proposed by legislators.

Amendment 1 - Is basically aimed squarely at limiting the gifts and perks that come from being a politician. But you can read the language yourself, it's pretty straightforward. This is an amendment only We The People could have ever got on the ballot. You think any legislator would like to see this passed? Petitioned.

Amendments 2 and 3 - Basically both call for the legalization of marijuana for medical use only. Neither is a recreational use amendment. My understanding is that there are two and either one is enough to make medical use legal, but if both pass both taxes will enact. I don't see any downside to this one and having witnessed the side effects of chemotherapy up close and personal, I can attest the affects are nothing short of miraculous. If it's benefits for other ailments are equally viable for such things as pain management or autism, then we owe it to those folks afflicted to make it accessible. It will generate revenue. Few ballot initiatives are such win-win scenarios. Petitioned.

Amendment 4 - The only amendment proposed by the general assembly and boy does it show. Bingo. Bingo? I need to amend the state constitution for Bingo? Um. Sure. Can't say I have a dog in this hunt though.

Proposition B is a minimum wage increase. Old economic arguments either way apply.

Proposition C is another marijuana law issue. It's sort of a companion piece to the other two amendments I think. While the amendments may make medical marijuana accessible, this statute will make it actually okay to possess it I think, provided you are entitled by medical necessity. Not sure what would happen if either amendment passes but Prop C doesn't. Hope we don't have to find out.

Prop D is a gas tax. Again with the gas tax eh? The governor has made noises that he would go ahead and impose this tax should this proposition fail at the polls, so it may be a mute point. Again, no dog in the hunt here but my own.

The use tax proposition for Camden County is just a way for Camden County to collect taxes on purchases not made in the county. It's an old trick done in many states. Vote yes if you want things to be taxed more I guess.

I encourage everyone to take a look at the ballot themselves and carefully consider the future, not just for yourselves, but for everyone.

PLEASE VOTE! Take the time. Make the time. I promise you'll feel better about yourself if you do, no matter how things turn out.

Monday, October 22, 2018

8 Year Monthly Lake Level Summary

Here's a fun chart. This is a candlestick chart of each month for 8 years (2010-2017).

Click on image to enlarge
or click here for a full size downloadable image
A couple of interesting statistics. The eight year high level and low level occurred only three months apart of each other and the difference was nearly 11 feet! That's quite dramatic for a body of water that most people's experience is less than a foot difference during the summer months.  December 28, 2015's high of 663.83 was followed on March 9th, 2016 with a low of 652.92.

As for how much water passed through the gates of Bagnell Dam in those 8 years? About 19,725 BILLION gallons, or technically 19.725 Trillion gallons. That sounds like a lot of water, and it is, but comparatively speaking it's not as much as you might think. By the numbers, it took eight years for enough water to pass through Bagnell Dam to cover an area the size of Missouri to a depth of only about one and half feet (1.36 to be precise), but it was enough that it could raise the level of Lake Michigan four feet. To really put it in perspective? Water flowing over the Canadian Horseshoe falls of Niagara could pass that same amount of water in one year and fifteen days. But it's a tremendous amount of water no matter how you look at it.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Winter Is Coming

Yes, I'm a Game of Thrones fan.

So, NOAA has put out there annual Winter Outlook forecast for the U.S. and here's the map.

Notice anything? Nowhere in the U.S is forecast for cooler than normal probability. This *is* climate, not weather, and falls right in line with global warming trends. For the immediate lake area, it looks like an even chance for normal temperatures. I guess Truman Lake might squeeze into that warmer than normal probability zone?

For precipitation, things again look to be solidly average.

So what it is "normal" for the lake area for these months?

Just by quick numbers:

December    Average High: 45 F, Low: 26 F, Precipitation Average: 2.52 inches, snow: 3 inches
January        Average High: 42 F, Low: 22 F, Precipitation Average: 2.09 inches, snow: 3 inches
February      Average High: 47 F, Low: 25 F, Precipitation Average: 2.17 inches, snow: 2 inches

Of course these are just averages, and as anyone who's lived in the area for any length of time will tell you, the weather can do just about anything in these months. I've been in my kayak at midnight on New Years Eve without a coat one time, and hip deep in snow another.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Here Come the Leaves

Remember, while blowing your leaves into the lake is not illegal for homeowners it is frowned upon and can lead to a loss of "lake access privileges". Please dispose of your leaves properly this season.

Don't Dump Your Leaves!

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

September 2018 Lake Levels and Flow Rates

A bit late but I was working on some new numbers for the chart. I can't tell you how much work went in to providing just a few extra numbers! The chart adds the average maximum daily flow in billions of gallons, and the average maximum and minimum lake levels for this time of year, including the average date they are reached. I know! Cool! No? Well, nerding out on data isn't for everyone. :)

I'll try to add even more information as time goes on. It would be great if I could incorporate some weather data alongside a deeper analysis of the entire river valley system of which the Lake of the Ozarks is only a part of, but that's for another day. I also promised to re-visit all of the charts from years past and redo them in the new format, complete with linked images, but it will take time. With any luck by the start of the new year?

A very typical September chart for 2018 with the lake well within the average range for levels (as indicated by the orange shaded region on the right side where the lake level gauge is).  The extra numbers I've been working on are multi-year averages (datum 2010-2017) so there's 8 years of comparable data now.

As usual for the winding down of summer, the maximum levels are found at the beginning of September and slowly drop through mid-month where they will likely hold until the end of the year. Flow rates were modest, which is unsurprising given the lack of rain we're experiencing.