Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hikeblogging: Box Elder Peak, Uinta National Forest (1st attempt)

I tried this hike on July 19 but didn't get around to posting about it until today. Part of the reason is I took the wrong trail and didn't make it to the top. Doesn't happen to me often, but this time I wasn't so lucky.

The trail starts at the Dry Creek trailhead near Alpine, Utah. It's a well-used trail that gets alot of horses on it. Much of the canyon is glacial-carved granite from the Little Cottonwood formation. Throughout the canyon there are waterfalls small and large, such as this one just a mile up from the trailhead.

About this point I came to a junction in the trail that was not on any of my maps. As you can tell, it's not marked either, and both trails are equally well-used. I took the left turn, which as it turned out was the wrong choice.

I kept on the trail because it seemed to be going in the right direction and had plenty of human and horse tracks on it. But after a couple of miles, it petered out in the middle of a very rugged basin, and I had to pick my way through heavy brush. As a reward for my effort, I got slapped on my arm by some stinging nettle and for the rest of the hike I kept having the sensation of a bug crawling on my elbow.

The basin was very beautiful and had several small waterfalls like this one. However, it was north of the basin where I should have been, and I decided to scrub the hike because after a couple of hours of trail-finding, brush-busting, and boulder-hopping I was too tired to attempt the summit. Besides, it was late afternoon at this point and I needed to get back down. I crossed over the ridge and found the real trail, which was very well-used and in good condition.

The day wasn't a total loss. I figured I ended up hiking close to 10 miles and climbed about 4,000 feet in elevation, so it provided good training for next week's hike to Mount Nebo, the highest peak in the Wasatch Range. I plan to hike Box Elder in early September, except this time I will approach from the back side, which is easier and shorter than the Dry Creek route.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Racism we can believe in

The other night, I was flipping thru the channels and I stumbled on a live concert performance by Carlos Mencina on Comedy Central. I like to watch his programs and also those by Dave Chappelle because they both make fun of the third rail of liberalism, racism. They take on the conventional wisdom of racism and make fun of blacks, asians, Latinos, whites, Jews and pretty well anyone else.

Anyway, the performance was from February of this year when Hillary and Barack were still going at it, and he said some things that got me thinking a bit. He said that all whites should vote for Obama because that will mean that racism no longer exists in America. Think about it. If Obama is elected president, how can blacks in America say that racsim exists when the leader of the United States is black? You would assume that if racsim existed, it would be against whites, asians, Latinos, etc., bu not against his own people.

The next logical step would be that if Obama is elected president and therefore, racsim towards blacks no longer exists, will he take the next logical step and dismantle the EEOC and other laws to prevent discrimination against blacks? These laws were put into place to "level the playing field" for blacks, but now that a black man is the president of the United States, one could argue that the playing field is now level and there is no longer a need for these laws. Of course, people who see racism behind every door and underneath every rock will say otherwise. But, like with the energy crisis, a very simple arguement will bring down the liberal house of cards.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Why environmentalists should support drilling in ANWR

Because of my work, I have to travel alot. to pass the time in the airplane, I sometimes buy books at the airport. Since the first of the year, I have read two books by the same author about archeology and ancient civilizations. The first was Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. This book answered the question of why it was the Spanish who sailed across the Atlantic to inslave the Incas and not the other way around. The second book was Collapse:How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. This book talked about how different societies collapsed due to various factors, many of which are environmental in nature.

When I saw the book for sale, I quickly glanced thru it and then decided to not buy it because I was certain that I would not agree with some or all of the author's ideas about the environment. But, after thinking some more about it, I decided to buy it and read it because I'm not a liberal. I'm a conservative who is not afraid to challenge my beliefs, unlike liberals who are all for free speech, thought and ideas but only when it is something they agree with. I find it ironic that at the smallest opportunity, liberals will scream about censorship at the drop of a hat, but the same time they will go out of their way to suppress any ideas that go against their liberal dogma thru "hate speech" laws and college speech codes. But I digress.

One of the ideas that I found interesting in the book was the idea that environmentalists should be all for oil exploration in the United States and not some third world country. The reasoning is such that oil companies in the United States are heavily regulated by the state thru a myriad of state and federal regulations designed to protect the environment. There are also legions of environmental organizations with their lawyers just waiting to file lawsuits on behave of speckled snail darter or some other small animal whose habitat was destroyed by any oil company. As a result, it would be very, very difficult for an oil company to do anything remotely non-environmentally friendly without the LSM, the Sierra Club, the Congress and lots and lots of lawyers finding out and suing the pants off any offending oil companies.

However, if an oil company is operating in a third-world country, you can be sure that their idea of environmental regulation takes a back seat to other concerns like money, money, money, money, etc. It is much harder to enforce even basic environmental regulations in a third-world country and there are no legions of lawyers to make oil companies pay for destroying natural habitat.

Because of this, it is a wonder that environmentalists still prevent drilling in ANWR and off the California and Florida coasts. As the author of Collapse puts forth, by not drilling for oil in the US, we are exporting our oil exploitation to other countries which are ill-equiped to deal with it. They do not have the laws and governmental organizations in place to properly regulate oil exploration which results in much more environmental destruction than if we drilled for oil in the US. Because of this, it seems that true environmentalists are those calling for drilling in ANWR and other places in the US because drilling for oil in a third-world country is much worse for the environment (and Mother Gaia) than drilling for oil in the US.

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A good choice for Veep, but I could think of a better one

A story on Yahoo! has Republican insiders saying that Romney tops McCain's VP list. I think that Mr. Romney would be a very good pick. He is strong in areas where McCain is weak and vice versa. However, after thinking a bit about the VP-stakes for the Republicans, I am inclined to think that there would be a better pick for McCain. I think that although Romney is a good choice, I think that he has been OBE (overtaken by events). Like another blogger that I read on WizBang, Cassy Fiano, I think that McCain should choose the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

I have two main reasons. The first is since Obama sewed up the Democratic nomination and trashed Hillary's coronation, her female supporters have not been too happy. What a way to play the feminist card against Obama than selecting a female vice president. What a dilema for feminists. The hard-core, feminazis would still probably vote for Obama, but alot of her less radical support would probably break for McCain, thereby leaving Obama in the lurch. What's he going to say to change their minds? Vote for me because I believe that women should be president, but not right now.

The other reason is the rising cost of energy in the US. Obama and the rest of the Democrats in Congress don't want the US to do any drilling anywhere, especially in ANWR. What a great way to counter any and all arguements about the size of ANWR, what it actually is, how many polar bears are being "threatened", just how the environment is being protected at Prudoe Bay and how it would be protected there, etc. In short, she would be a very quick and immediate expert on drilling for oil in ANWR to counter anything that Obama would say. Anytime any Democrat start bloviating about the pristine wilderness at ANWR and the polar bears, Governor Palin could very quickly shut their mouths with "Senator Obama, when was the last time that you visited ANWR? The last time that I was up there was just a few weeks ago as the governor of Alaska and I don't know where you got your information, but this "pristine wilderness" that you are talking about doesn't exist. The polar bears are not threatened with starvation, etc, etc, etc." This would quickly move the debate from "We can't drill in ANWR" to "When can we start drilling in ANWR".

I think McCain should choose Governor Palin for vice president. This would be a brilliant move on his part and would really make life difficult for Obama with women.

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