Saturday, August 14, 2010
I was driving through California after dark last night ... and did see a little more meteors than normal as I drove through the Sierra Nevada. But only a few as I was driving with at least one eye on the road in front of me!
Twenty years ago there weren't brochures reminding everyone the enviromentally-kind ways to visit the coast. Today those brochures, that I'm sure they're hoping will be recycled, are focusing on being eco-friendly. They even have "hybrid cars only" parking spots in California because they're so progressive thinking.
Interestingly, what I remember from twenty years ago was that there were so many people biking the coast that it was kinda scary driving. Every other sharp hairpin corner ... there was a group of biking tourists. There was no way that you could sight-see while driving because you never new when you'd come around a corner and kill a biker if you weren't careful watching for them.
In contrast, today....
Despite all the people who say they want to live green in California (and the US in general because I'm really piking on Al Gore and his private jet and not Californians) I passed 3 single biking tourists the entire time I was there! I counted them because it was so strikingly different from twenty years ago I remember passing biking tourists 3 deep at every other corner.
At Manchester State Park I saw only one biking tourist that set up a tent and the walk-in area was empty when I checked it out. There weren't even that many tents at the campground with people that drove in a hybrid car or something and pitched a tent. Most of the campground was filled with completely gas-hogging motorhomes.
I guess this goes to show that Californians are no different than the rest of us gas-hogging Americans. They could have driven their green cars and pitched a tent. Or they could have biked up the coast. But no, they drove the coast getting less than 5 miles per gallon in their motor homes.
I should also add...
I don't think Americans are burning excessive fuel each weekend on these evil gas-hogging camping trips. There actually did seem to be fewer cars on the road. This is probably a sign of the CA economy. Gas was higher in almost every California town than it is in Reno, Nevada ... and Reno is higher than national average. Also, the hotel costs twenty years ago were around $25-50. Now the motels ranging from $110-250. Expensive gasoline and motels probably help keep people away from California coast.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I was very saddened to hear of the passing on former Senator Ted Stevens. He was a leader in my home state most of my life. He was the kind of polician that was bipartisan in that he was in touch with the needs of Alaskans. I used to live in the town near where his plane went down, and worked for a mostly liberal-minded agency that had little trouble getting Ted Stevens to lend an ear to various ideas. He was the kind of politician that those of us working in public jobs and had dealings with his office could agree with, or disagree with ... and mostly not be annoyed with. The public in general might not have seen that side because they just see what the media portrays.
Years ago when I was still teaching I went with a group of youth from Bristol Bay and Anchorage to Washintgon DC for the Close-Up Program. Dillingham was there. A friend of mine that now works for the State of Alaska was a senior at the time. Anyway, there was some big vote (can't really recall) but Mr. Stevens still juggled his day to spend some time with the youth from his state. He didn't miss the vote. He did both. Other chaperones from other states only got meetings with aides, but Ted Stevens took the time to visit with our tiny group of students.
Years later when I was no longer teaching I happened to walk past Mr. Stevens on the street outside the Egan Center during the Alaskan Native Federation Conference. Out of respect I nodded and told him hello, and would have walked on by because mostly I didn't want to bug him. He started up a short conversation. He remembered who I was. Had noticed I didn't return to DC the year after and wondered if I'd stick with that program. I think he really liked the Close-Up program, though honestly it must have been a bit of a pain to schedule meet and greets with kids. I was a little amazed he remembered who I was as it had been years already and if you'd put me in a room with his aides in DC I would never have recognized them! Ted Stevens really was a people person. Bless him and his family and thank you for years of service for Bristol Bay and the rest of Alaska.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Ah! It is just a darn shame that we can't buy this old Newsweek in the back issues. I'd really like to read how Al Gore is The Thinking Man's Thinking Man. LOL. Alas, you can only buy a poster of the cover... The Thinking Man Posters from Zazzle.com
Ha. After I was complaining about laws infecting all aspects of our life with additional costs ... I see that the Newsweek store at Zazzle sells back issues. If you missed it the first time, here is the "We're All Socialists Now" back issue that Glenn Beck talks about.
Then FOX cuts to commercial...
We can save you thousands on your credit card bills! The government programs are there for you! Call us right now and we'll save your the big bucks.
Though he may have neglected to offer discounts for other items that could have saved me a few bucks ... the truth is that by mandating insurance our government allows these companies to charge whatever they want. The only real competition now is for the cost of coverage policies that are over and above what is required by the government.
Mandated auto insurance laws in the last decades have more than doubled auto insurance for me. And yet, I've never once needed the insurance and likely never will. Those of us that don't drink, don't smoke, don't turn around and scream at our kids in the baskseat, don't eat, don't speed, don't text, and don't talk on the phone while we drive really don't need insurance. If I'd been able to save all the money over the last decades that I've spent on auto insurance ... I would be able to buy a brand new car!
I am not advocating that people don't carry insurance. But let the bank's require it if we're borrowing money to pay for our cars and get the government out of the equation. It's just another way government has screwed up a good thing.
Mostly I'm just thinking today that at least if evil capitalism was truly in charge, I could buy cheaper insurance for a vehicle that isn't being driven.
Oh, and I have so much hope for the future of medical insurance! Thanks be to Obamacare.
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