Sunday, August 31, 2008

Senator McCain reads the Warren

Now that Big Mac has chosen his vice president, it's time for some El-ahrairah "I told you so". Way back in July, I blogged about how Gov. Palin would be a better pick for VP than Utah's favorite son, Mitt Romney. Either he reads the Warren or he had this up his sleeve all along, but either way, the Republican base is energized much more than if he had picked Mitt. Sorry Mitt, never a bride, always a bridesmaid.

Anyway, his pick of Gov. Palin also essentially took the wind out of The Chosen One's sails. Thursday night was his "big" speech and everyone expected that it would dominate the news for the next few days into the start of the Republican convention. If Big Mac had chosen someone lke Romney or Pawlenty, this would have probably been the case. But, with him selecting Gov. Palin, everyone has forgotten about The Chosen One's speech and are talking about a former beauty queen from Alaska who hunts and fishes and has five children, one of whom is in the military and is headed to Iraq and another who has Down's Syndrome. Obama gave a speech to 80,000+ people? When was that? Last month in Europe?

What was looking like the election which would have destroyed the Repulican party is now looking like the Democrats snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. The Republican base is fired up, feminists are in a quandry and Obama has stopped writing his inauguration speech and is wondering what happened. It's a great day to be a Republican.

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Why LDS Church members vote Republican

It's that time of the election season again when prominent Democrats complain about how the Republican party seems to have a lock on the LDS vote. Recently the Senate Majority Leader, Brother Harry Reid spouted off about this at the Democratic convention along with the Salt Lake Tribune's resident LDS Church hater, Rebecca Walsh.

What they both have to say is probably true, but the main point that they are ignoring is it's not the LDS Church members who have left the Democratic party, it's the other way around. Many year ago, I can remember when the Utah congressional delegation was predominantly Democratic. This was during the 70's, but three things happened to push Utah into a solid red state. Those three things were 1) Roe V. Wade, 2) the Equal Rights Amendment and radical feminisim and 3) gay rights. The LDS Church does not endorse any candidate for elected office and only counsels it's members to vote for those people who the members believes shares his or hers beliefs. However, the LDS Church does speak out on ballot inititives on social issues and spoke out against all three of these social issues. When the Democratic party decided to embrace these causes, LDS Church members left the Democratic party in droves due to the simple fact that Democrats showed members of the LDS Church that they did not share their values. Since that time, it has only gotten worse for Democrats. Gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research, gun control (Utah has lots of hunters), sex education, etc., are all issues where the Democratic party is on the opposite side of the fence from members of the LDS Church. To put it another way, you may not like the Republican party's platform on global warming, but at least they aren't taking away your guns, marrying gays and aborting babies.

So, the question for Brother Reid and Ms. Walsh is not why LDS Church members vote Republican, the question is why the Democratic party has dumped the values that LDS Church members hold dear. Maybe Brother Reid and/or Ms. Walsh would like to expound on that question for a moment. Brother Reid? Ms. Walsh? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? (Crickets chirping).

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hike Blogging: Mount Nebo, Wasatch-Cache National Forest

I did this hike on August 7-9, 2008

Last week I was able to complete one the most difficult hikes in Utah: Climbing Mount Nebo, the highest peak in the Wasatch Mountains.

Nebo is located just east of the town of Mona, Utah. The terrain is extremely steep; the mountain is a large block of sedimentary rock that has been tilted up on its side and has three peaks of almost equal height. Although the north peak is technically the highest peak of the three, most people just hike to the south peak and call it good. You will find out why later in this post.

The top of the north peak is almost exactly 8 miles from the start of the Andrews Ridge trailhead. That is part of the reason most people just go to the south peak instead of the north; it cuts 2 very difficult miles from the round trip distance and allows them to do the hike in one day. We chose the other option and backpacked in about 4 miles and then camped in one of the few campsites along the trail, this one among huge Englemann spruce more than 100 feet high and more than 3 feet wide at the base.

The next day we started out and got to the south peak in good time. The trail leading up to the south peak is well-used and in good condition. But the entire hike is quite steep; you gain over 5,000 feet in elevation from the trailhead to the top. Once on the ridgeline, however, it gets much easier.

We had a lunch up on South Nebo (elevation 11,877 feet) and since the weather was good and we were feeling fine we took off for North peak (11,928). Although only a mile away, it is quite difficult and the trail is not as well-maintained or easy to follow. Several times we had to find our way across knife-edge rocks. And as you can see, it's quite steep itself; the north face of North peak is just a sheer drop of about 100 feet.

We finally made it to the top, and there is a little mailbox where you can leave your name and other comments. The view was spectacular, but as the picture shows, there were clouds forming in the distance so we took off as quickly as possible.

It was a good thing we did. Just as we approached the South peak, a storm whipped in at amazing speed; within 5 minutes it went from warm and partly cloudy to almost completely fogbound with a cold rain. Visibility was down below 50 feet, a nerve-wracking condition when you are on a steep ridge with 500-foot cliffs on one side. But we kept calm and found the trail, and the storm soon passed over us as we descended South peak.

After spending another night at the camp we came down the next day, tired but elated. This was indeed a beautiful trip, but it was also very taxing. I'm glad I did it, but I won't be repeating the experience any time soon.