March 30, 2008

March 29, 2008

Attention Parents; Kids and Fire Alarms.

Flotsam and Jetsam: Moose

Adult Moose

The Moose's Tooth: A granite outcropping jutting from Denali's Ruth Glacier. Or the best Pizza and Brewpub in Anchorage. Love the Ale but as much as I like halibut I found that some things have no place on a pizza.

Those two practicle jokers, Frank and Earl, liked to sneak up on sleeping bears. This is the last picture of the pair. The camera and the plate from Earl's head was found in a big pile of bear scat just outside of Seward in 1957. From the Moose Pass, Alaska photo archives.

Suicidal Moose from the Anchorage Daily News; "A swing-shift trooper based in Girdwood, Peterson was cruising the Seward Highway the night of Feb. 2 a couple miles north of McHugh Creek when something big and black fell from the sky, landing about 20 feet from his car."

March 24, 2008

Updated: From the desk of Geroge Santayana

"A mans memory may almost become the art of continually varying and misrepresenting his past to his interests in the present"
George Santayana

A timely example of the insight of George Santayana which I posted yesterday. Thanks Hill, your the gift that keeps on giving.
Update II: I Don't know who would put out such a obvious attack video as the one posted above, but I am glad that someone has set the story straight.

March 23, 2008

The Obama Speech

The hoo ha over Barack Obama’s minister and his resulting explanation has been dissected from every conceivable angle but I will, I hope, add one more. As I recently watched the video two things were glaringly absent.

First, the church experience for a young family such as the Obama’s extends beyond the spiritual. Religion is often seen a social and educational opportunity for parents seeking to build a moral base for their developing young children. The media have focused on what did Obama know, when did he know it and how could he have stayed in a church that espoused such radical views. But where was Michelle in this relationship with the Trinity United Church of Christ? What role did she play in the decision to attend this congregation?

A family’s religious choice does not happen in a vacuum, yet nowhere in this speech is there a peek into their religious expectations or decisions. Nowhere is there a reference to a night where the couple sat in front of the fireplace with a cold bottle of Chianti and debated the tenets of their church or whether it was an appropriate atmosphere for their daughters. From some of Michelle’s remarks, which echo the rhetoric of Pastor Wright, she may have been a bigger factor in remaining in this church than her husband. But we don’t know that... Obama never tells us.

Second, although he states that he disagreed with the messages emanating from the pulpit he only now disavows the sermons of his pastor. Nowhere does he mention that he and his minister ever discussed the messages that he found troubling. This is a person that reportedly touched Obama’s soul, yet nowhere is there an indication that the man he portrays as an Uncle ever spent an evening in front of the fireplace with a case of Colt 45 passionately debating the fact that it is ’08 not ’68 and the experience of the black man in America has evolved in the last 40 years.

You are left with the impression that Obama was on the outside looking in during these events. He was simply a detached spectator to the people (including his Grandmother) which played such large role in his life. Perhaps if he had exuded a sense that he was an active participant in this he may have some credibility. Without it the speech was little more than a history of race relations in America or a well written campaign stump speech.

If he didn’t have the personal courage to intervene in dialog that he so passionately disagreed with in a small intimate group like his family or church how can we expect him to do the right thing in the White House?

The Ressurection

Matthew 28:1-10
1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

March 21, 2008

Education in Crisis: Part III

As the California Judge H. Walter Coskey noted In Part I, "A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare," The question then is who decides what defines citizenship and what exactly are the citizens patriotic and loyal to.

Studies indicate that a left wing bias dominates the teaching profession and we have all heard anecdotes of bias in colleges and universities which are far from being a forum for a diversity of ideas. As one study notes, “They are virtual one-party states, ideological monopolies, badly unbalanced ecosystems. They are utterly flightless birds with only one wing to flap. They do not, when it comes to political and cultural ideas, look like America," (Chow) So if we expect that the cultural ideas promoted by the public school system should reflect our history and culture for the good of society what then is the goal of the reconstructionists? I’ll let them explain.

The Transformation of Society
Ultimately, the goal of multicultural education is to contribute progressively and proactively to the transformation of society and to the application and maintenance of social justice and equity.

This stands to reason, as the transformation of schools necessarily transforms a society that puts so much stock in educational attainment, degrees, and test scores. In fact, it is particularly this competitive, capitalistic framing of the dominant mentality of the United States (and increasingly, with the "help" of the United States, the world) that multicultural education aims to challenge, shake, expose, and critique. This is precisely the reason that it is not enough to continue working within an ailing, oppressive, and outdated system to make changes, when the problems in education are themselves symptoms of a system that continues to be controlled by the economic elite.

One does not need to study education too closely to recognize that schools consistently provide continuing privilege to the privileged and continuing struggle for the struggling with very little hope of upward mobility. "Informal" tracking, standardized testing, discrepancies in the quality of schools within and across regions, and other practices remain from the industrial-age model of schools. Only the terminology has changed -- and the practices are not quite as overt.

Educators, educational theorists, researchers, activists, and everyone else must continue to practice and apply multicultural teaching and learning principles both inside and out of the classroom. We must not allow the knowledge that most people working in schools are well-intentioned to lead us to assume that our schools are immune to the oppression and inequity of society. We must ask the un-askable questions. We must explore and deconstruct structures of power and privilege that serve to maintain the status quo.

In a sense, multicultural education uses the transformation of self and school as a metaphor and starting place for the transformation of society. Ultimately, social justice and equity in schools can, and should, mean social justice and equity in society. Only then will the purpose of multicultural education be fully achieved.

As you can see, the rhetoric of the multiculturalist educator is nothing more than a repackaging of Marxist dogma. As Marx wrote, “The Communists have not intended the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.”

This is not to say that teachers are a monolithic group whose goal is the programming of students into leftist automatons bent on undermining two centuries of American political culture. Of all the professors I have encountered the last two years many, but not all, adhere to this agenda to various degrees but are usually subtle in their approach. You can see it in the direction that debates or subject matter is steered while attempting to appear objective, while others make the occasional snide aside in lecture that gives a snapshot into their ideology. Only once did I have a professor that openly stated that “We (the U.S.) suck!”

The multiculturalist/ reconsonstructionist agenda is contrary to the purpose of education as envisioned by men like Thomas Jefferson who believed that if Liberty was to be maintained citizens must be educated in republican ideals. I would guess that this philosophy is also contrary to what most people would expect from the education system. If only they knew.

March 19, 2008


March 18, 2008

Flotsam and Jetsam: Climate Conspiracy

Terrorism, bird flu, President Hillary, as if I don't have enough to worry about. Now I find that the government is using aircraft to seed the atmosphere which evidently leads to cooling.
The Chemtrail Conspiracy.

But wait there's more. Now I discover that some idiot (probably employed at FEMA) has turned off the sunspot generator which is also cooling the planet.
The Sunspot Conspiracy.

All this has led to the glacerization of the Great Lakes. OK maybe I exaggerate but the pictures are pretty cool. The Lake Huron Conspiracy

Perhaps we have been here before and there really isn't anything to worry about.
Historical Global Warming Conspiracies.

March 16, 2008

Iditarod Wrap Up.

There are still a dozen mushers on the trail and several are making a dash from White Mountain hoping to arrive in time for tonight's Iditarod Awards Banquet that is held the Sunday after the winner makes it to Nome. One person that wont make the festivities though is this years Red Lantern Winner who is still out on the trail . The Red Lantern for the last musher to cross the line started as a joke but became an Iditarod tradition .

During the days of Alaska sled dog freighting and mail carrying, dog drivers relied on a series of roadhouses between their village destinations. Since these mushers ventured out in most all kinds of weather, for safety reasons they found the idea that pilots rely on, known today as the flight plan.
Word was relayed ahead that a musher and team were on the trail, and a kerosene lamp was lit and hung outside the roadhouse. It not only helped the dog driver find his destination at night, but more importantly, it signified that a team or teams were somewhere out on the trail. The lamp was not extinguished until the musher safely reached his destination.
In keeping with that tradition, the Iditarod Trail Committee will light a “Widow’s Lamp” at 10:00 a.m., on the first Sunday in March, in Nome at the trail’s end. This lamp, which will be attached to the Burled Arch, our official finish line, will remain lit as long as there are mushers on the trail competing in the race. When the last musher crosses the finish line, officials will extinguish the “Widow’s Lamp” signifying the official end of the Iditarod for that year.
All too often, public and media think of the race as being over when the winner crosses the finish line, yet there are still teams on the trail. We hope you will find this often overlooked part of the race worthy of your attention. There are many very good stories about these other mushers on the trail.

Often the “Red Lantern” is confused with the “Widow’s Lamp.” They are not the same. An article several years ago in Alaska magazine states that the first red lantern was awarded in the 1953 Fur Rendezvous Race. According to Alaska,
“Awarding a red lantern for the last place finisher in a sled dog race has become an Alaskan tradition. It started as a joke and has become a symbol of stick-to-itiveness in the mushing world.”
Congratulations to all the mushers that participated in the Last Great Race On Earth.
Update: Race Awards Announced at Mushers Banquet

March 15, 2008

Education in Crisis: Part II

Since I wrote the previous piece on the attack on home schools in California, Governor Schwartzenegger has promised to pursue legislation protecting home schools in his state. (Education in Crisis Part I) My concern, as I mentioned is not so much where the children are learning but the method by which that learning takes place and by extension what they are forced to learn.

By and large what goes on in that big brick neighborhood building we call a school goes largely ignored or unnoticed. If you told a parent that his child is undergoing a Multicultural Education most would not be aware of the term nor could they define it. Most would equate it with the idea that in our increasingly ethnically diverse society multicultural education is nothing more than diversity training for the very young. At its most innocuous level this part of multicultural education is probably true. Who’s child has not had to do a project on Martin Luther King during Black History Month. The problem is that it extends beyond the scope that we can all get along to potentially altering the basic fabric of American society.

What we now call multicultural education originated in the 1960s in the wake of the civil rights movement as a corrective to the long-standing de facto policy of assimilating minority groups into the "melting pot" of dominant American culture (Sobol, 1990). Multicultural education has captured almost daily headlines in recent years, as it has become an ever more contentious and politicized battleground. To cite just two instances, attempts to establish multicultural curricula in New York City and California were the subject of considerable public attention.

In the debate over New York's Children of the Rainbow curriculum, opponents such as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (1991) argued that multicultural education threatened to divide students along racial and cultural lines, rather than unite them as Americans. The public debate continues. As recently as May 1994, a school board in Lake County, Florida, voted that its schools could teach children about other cultures, but only as a way of teaching them that American culture was inherently "superior," a decision much discussed around the country ("School Board," 1994). (Burnett)

Multicultural Education as it is presented to budding young teachers in the college ranks builds on the idea that people of different cultures or socioeconomic strata may learn differently and as such it is unjust to force that student to learn in a style that may be contrary to that student’s cultural background, regardless if that learning style or behavior is inferior to the American system. It is a purely relativist perspective that forces the educator to formulate educational experiences for as many different “styles” of learning as may be found in their particular classroom without questioning the behaviors of the particular student. Taken to the extreme multiculturalsim works to eradicate the idea of “American Exceptionalism” and eliminate assimilation into American culture that has been the cornerstone of Americas successful integration of diverse peoples for over two centuries.

Of course the teaching profession is not a monolithic group and I don’t want to imply that teachers are marching in lockstep in some multicultural conspiracy. There are in fact several levels of commitment to this dogma.

1. The Human Relations approach students are taught about commonalities of all people through understanding their social and cultural differences but not their differences in institutional and economic power.
2. The Single Group Studies approach is about the histories and contemporary issues of oppression of people of color, women, low socioeconomic groups, and gays and lesbians.
3. The Multicultural Education approach promotes the transformation of the
educational process to reflect the ideals of democracy in a pluralistic society. Students are taught content using instructional methods that value cultural knowledge and differences.
4. The Social Reconstructionist approach to multicultural education goes a step
further to teach students about oppression and discrimination. Students learn about their roles as social change agents so that they may participate in the generation of a more equitable society. (Hanley)

This is just an introduction into the world of Multiculturalist educational thinking and for further information on the topic I suggest reading the works of Hanley and Bennet linked in this piece. Next time we will take a look at the extremist view of this dogma and the direction it is taking America.

March 12, 2008

Mackey Wins Second Iditarod.

From the Anchorage Daily News

...Officially, at 2:46 a.m. today, Mackey rode his sled behind a smoothly trotting dog team that passed beneath the burled arch on Nome's Front Street to claim a second straight Iditarod victory. He immediately snacked the dogs, then took a cell phone call from his father, Dick, the only musher ever to win the Iditarod in a photo finish. The elder Mackey has retired to Arizona.
Jeff King followed him into Nome, arriving at 4:05 a.m.

March 11, 2008

Mushers into White Moutain

Photo: Lance Mackey
Lead mushers make it to White Mountain. The race will be over sometime early tomarow morning and unless his team goes on strike, which has happened to mushers that push to hard, Lance Mackey will repeat the feat of winning both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod back to back. Mackey has been chased the last hundred miles by former champ Jeff King who is just an hour behind.
If Lance Mackey pulls off a victory, it may have been a little of that old Mackey magic — a recipe that includes a dash of mind games and a lot of old-fashioned hard work — that made the difference.
First, the head game:
Mackey lulled his rival, Jeff King, into parking his team at Elim. He then tip-toed out of the checkpoint at 2:20 a.m. after just an hour and 20 minutes rest, right as King shut his eyes for a nap. That was textbook Iditarod tricksterism. The move gained Mackey a one-hour advantage leaving that checkpoint. The hard work part came next, when the reigning Iditarod champion then called up his team and ski-poled for the next six and a half hours to maintain that advantage all the way to White Mountain...
King woke up, realized he’d been left behind and got his team moving at 3:10 a.m., after a rest of about two hours. The four-time champion assumed he’d gain on Mackey, since he had on all the runs up to this one, but he found out that Mackey still had a little more gas in the tank. “There’s no end yet in how many times I think I know something that’s not true,” King said, shortly before taking a snooze at White Mountain.
The two are parked this afternoon side by side, sleeping out their mandatory eight-hour layover, and will resume their duel to the finish line in Nome at 4:53 p.m. for Mackey and 5:50 p.m. for King. Mackey achieved a major advantage by pulling away. A difference of 57 minutes at this point is a commanding position to be in. Since both teams will be traveling fairly slowly, it’s mathematically difficult to expend enough energy to make up an hour, and then make a pass and hold on, with 77 miles to go. It can be done, and both mushers know it, but it will be tough for King...

March 09, 2008

The Iditarod Airforce

The mushers and the dogs get all the press while the people that make the race possible toil passionately in the background. Be it the veterinarians, check point workers, or officials. For most of the villages the race becomes an annual celebration and the town turns out to make sure that every musher is fed and cared for along the trail.
Landing in Shaktoolik

One group that is vital to the success of the race is the Iditarod Airforce. Volunteer pilots that donate their time and planes to the race to ensure that the teams are supplied with everything from food to straw for every dog team at every checkpoint. The Pilots are required to have 1000 hrs of flight time, 500 hrs of Alaska time and 100 hrs of winter and ski operations.
Hauling dropped dogs.

This year they will move over 169,000 lbs of dog food, 1950 bales of straw, enough for each team to have fresh straw at every checkpoint, 14500 lathes to remote checkpoints for the trail breaks to mark the trail, distribute 1500 cases of Heet, fly 48 veterinarians that monitor the athletes, fly 101 race judges, the Director of Competition and logistics, photographers, insider personnel and dog handlers continually up the trail who support the race. It is a tremendous undertaking but is performed with the skill and precision of a military operation.

Hauling food and supplies
Rohn River landing strip.

How do you fuel a team of dogs from Anchorage to Nome?
Heet, lots and lots of Heet!!!

Pictures and statistics courtesy of : The Iditarod Airforce

Flotsam and Jetsam

Patriots gathered in Times Square this week to show contempt to the bombtrhowers that attacked a Military Recruiting Station.

From Urban Infidel / Slide Show here

The Clintons have been resistant to releasing any informantion, personal or presidential. Chances are most people would question such as meteoric rise in the Clinton net worth.
It certainly pays to be king!
From: The Memling Index

Petition Clinton to release her tax return.

Mark Steyn: "The Democratic primary season seems to have dwindled down into a psycho remake of "Driving Miss Daisy." The fading matriarch Mizz Hill'ry (Jessica Tandy) doesn't want to give up the keys to the Democratic Party vehicle but the dignified black chauffeur Hokey (Morgan Freeman) insists it'll be a much smoother ride with him in the driver's seat. Yet, just as he thinks the old biddy's resigned to a nomination as Best Supporting Actress, the backseat driver plunges her hat pin into his spine, wrests the wheel away and lurches across the median"

Education in Crisis: Part I

This article was forwarded from a concerned reader. He writes: “I guess someone in California is pissed off that the winner of state Spelling Bee competition is always a home schooled pupil.” I think the problem runs deeper than that. California has declared a war of sorts on parents who choose to home-school their children saying that the children must be trained by a state licensed instructor. While at the same time they are abandoning a large segment of students already in the public system.

San Francisco: A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution…
"California courts have held that ... parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children," Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. "Parents have a legal duty to see to their children's schooling under the
provisions of these laws." Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.
"A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare," the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue…
The ruling was applauded by a director for the state's largest teachers union.
"We're happy," said Lloyd Porter, who is on the California Teachers Association board of directors. "We always think students should be taught by credentialed teachers, no matter what the setting."

Of course the Teachers Union was ecstatic with the ruling, eyeing an opportunity to get their hooks into a new source of fertile young minds, but when some California districts have 30% to 50 % of the kids leaving school at some point after ninth grade without earning a diploma their concerns seem seriously misplaced. Except that failing kids leaving the system helps schools meet performance guidlines under No Child Left Behind.

LA TIMES: CALIFORNIA'S CHILDREN are abandoning school at the rate of about 150,000 a year — a number equivalent to the population of Torrance, or Irvine, or all of Imperial County. Fewer than 70% of ninth-graders statewide will graduate from high school, and in some districts the percentage drops to less than half. Shockingly, this is not particularly a problem for schools, which are ranked primarily on their test scores. If marginal students leave, it only helps their averages.The result is a calamity in education that has almost no effect on schools, and that paradoxically has allowed schools to remain on the margins of a public debate about how to keep kids in the classroom. Fortunately, the Legislature is taking note.

Legislators are taking note and road they are taking education down should scare everyone that has children in the system or anyone that cares about educations role in building ":citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation" as Judge Croskey stated above. This affects education not only in California but in the United States as a whole. Next time I will take a look at how the education system is being co-opted.

March 08, 2008

The Check is in the Mail

Is this really neccesary?

WASHINGTON (AP)- At a cost of nearly $42 million, the IRS wants you to know: Your check is almost in the mail. The Internal Revenue Service is spending the money on letters to alert taxpayers to expect rebate checks as part of the economic stimulus plan.

Keith Hennessey, director of the president's National Economic Council, said the letters are being sent to explain how the tax rebates will work. "Any time you do something as a government tens of millions of times, there is ample room for people to get confused. And so if you're going to have tens of millions of taxpayers getting checks, you want to get the information out so that you have as few people as possible confused about what's happening, they understand what's coming, and it reduces the number of incoming requests that IRS and Treasury have to figure out how to deal with it," said Hennessey.

Oh ya that makes it alot clearer, thanks Kieth. Being from Iowa it is so easy to get Cornfused!

On the Trail

Taking a break.

Rick Swenson in the Hunt for Win Number Six

Left: Rick Swenson tends his dogs in McGrath

For most mushers winning the Iditarod is a once in a lifetime dream. It takes determination, the right combination of dogs, a tremendous lead dog, and a certain degree of luck as the sleep deprived mushers make their way to Nome. There have been a few mushers that have at times created a mushing dynasty of sorts and were able to put together multiple wins over the course of several years. In the late eighties Susan Butcher was a force in the race with 4 wins. During the nineties Doug Swingley, Martin Buser and Jeff King battled each other to amass 4 wins each. But the best all time musher is Rick Swenson with five wins.

His last win in 1991 is the stuff of Alaska legend as he drove his dogs into a storm on Norton Sound coast while the rest of the mushers returned to the checkpoint;
From the New York times March 16,1991:

On a day when the wind and the snow blowing off the Bering Sea Coast were so severe that he thought he might be risking his life, Rick Swenson of Two Rivers covered the final 77 miles to this historic gold-rush town and won the 19th annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race early this morning.
By mushing his team through temperatures of 20 degrees below zero and winds of 40 miles per hour when most of the chief competitors turned back to shelter, Swenson became the first five-time winner of the 1,163-mile race from Anchorage to Nome. Swenson, who last won the event in 1982, finished in 12 days 16 hours 34
minutes 39 seconds to win $50,000 and a new truck. In 16 Iditarod competitions, he has never finished out of the top 10.

Boldness Is Rewarded
The victory rewarded Swenson's boldness in mushing his dog team into a bitter winter storm from White Mountain, the next-to-last checkpoint, and deflecting the challenge of his chief rival, Susan Butcher of Eureka, who was seeking to become the top-winning Iditarod competitor. Butcher, winner of four of the last five Iditarods, and the event record-holder with a time of 11 days 1 hour 53 minutes was one of three front-runners who headed into the bad weather, but then turned back early Thursday morning. Before the storm, she was viewed as the likely winner.
Butcher, Joe Runyan, the 1989 champion from Nenana, and Tim Osmar, a
perennial contender from Clam Gulch, gambled that the harshness of the weather
would exhaust the dog teams of Swenson and Martin Buser of Big Lake. Swenson and Buser were the only competitors to plow through the whiteout conditions that often obliterated the trail.

No Turning Back
"If I was going to walk, I wasn't going to turn back," said Swenson. "As long as I stayed on the trail, I wasn't going to die."...

"You couldn't tell if you were going up, down or sideways," said Swenson of the worst stretches of trail. "You couldn't tell anything. I never worked so hard for anything in my life. It was a little scary and it was stressful. It was not a pleasant night." Swenson, 40 years old, said he did not even know that the others had gone
back, but he was determined to push on. "There was no prize in White Mountain,"
he said. Swenson expressed surprise that Butcher didn't fight the storm.
"She's gonna have to get six now if she wants to be top dog," he said.

On Tuesday Swenson claimed that he was in the hunt for another win this year as he took his 24 hour layover in McGrath while the rest of the pack continued up the trail. But the master of the trail may have been right and by yesterday he was back in the lead pack as they headed down the Yukon River.

March 06, 2008

Just Dogs.

Unless your the lead dog the view never changes.

During last years Iditarod I got mail from anti-Iditaroders lambasting me for my support of the race and for not understanding how cruel it is for the dogs. Look at the smile on the faces of these dogs and tell me they are not having the time of their lives.
Staying cool.
It's anybodies guess as to who is actually in the lead at this point. The leaders have left Ophir while it appears that some of the contenders have settled in for the mandatory 24hr layover in Tokotna. Strategy is every bit important as dog care and deciding when to rest and when to push on can be a make or break decision. Five time champion Rick Swenson, citing the warm weather is finishing up his layover back down the trail in McGrath and although he is far behind the leader claims that when the leaders finally take a rest he will be back in the hunt for another win.

March 05, 2008

Fifteen teams have made it through the Alaska range and across the treacherous Farwell burn and into McGrath. Paul Gebhardt and Jim Lanier did not stay long before pushing on in hopes of putting some distance between them and the pack with a storm moving in from the south.
At McGrath:

1. Lance Mackey (6)
2. Jeff King (11)
3. Kjetil Backen (42)
4. Paul Gebhardt (69)
5. Jim Lanier (4)
6. Hugh Neff (16)
7. Mitch Seavey (33)
8. Zack Steer (26)
9. Hans Gatt (38)
10. Gerry Willomitzer (7)

Complete Standings here.
Trench warfare on the way to Rainy Pass.

Mark my Words...

The voice on the other end of the line was obviously distraught. " I FEEL SO DIRTY" whined my brother from Texas after casting a vote for Obama " Buck up little camper, it will wash off and being a good Catholic you always have the penance option." I assured him.

I was glad to see that at least one person had the sense to follow my advice to vote for Barrak. However, on my way to the dump yesterday I had the rare opportunity to listen to talk radio and a women with a drawl as thick as Texas chili was lamenting to the host, (Rush supposedly called in sick yesterday) " I feel so dirty, I sure pray that Rush is right about this." So the Rushbo was telling people to Vote for Clinton?

I'm sure he probably has a larger reach and obviously more influence than I do if he has little old ladies in Amarillo doing his bidding. At this early hour I don't know what affect the crossover vote had on the outcome. It pains me to say this but I have to agree with Hillary's statement (now I feel dirty) on Fox this morning. "Be careful what you wish for Rush".
It's libel come back to bite you in the butt.

I don't know if Rush is the origin of the theory which proposes that by helping Clinton win a few primaries the Dems will stagger on in state of chaos which will ultimately benefit the republicans. Foolish. Foolish. Foolish!
Get Well Soon Rush.

March 03, 2008

The race is on. The Mushers left the comforts of civilizations on Sunday and quickly blew threw the first checkpoint of Skwentna as they began the climb into the Alaska range. After the first day the top ten is home of four of the six past champions entered in this years race. Jeff King 4 time winner, Martin Buser 4 time winner, Mitch Seavey, and Lance Mackey last years winner. The leaders are through Finger Lake and making the descent through the always exciting Dalzell Gorge on the way to the interior.

March 02, 2008

Today the mushers of the Iditarod gather in the little town of Willow for the official start of Iditarod 36. The start in Anchorage is now just ceremony, at one time the teams mushed from Anchorage to Eagle River then loaded the dogs up and drove to Wassilla for a restart. Now the official start is on Sunday. The Anchorage Daily News has an nice photo slide show of yesterdays event that does a good job of getting the feel for the event. Sights and sounds from the ceremonial start.

ANCHORAGE — As a cool breeze whipped the occasional flurry of snow through the steel and glass buildings of downtown, some 96 mushers, dogs and the usual throng of spectators bundled up a little more than usual to take part in the annual rite of late winter, Alaska’s version of March madness: The ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race...The goal today was simple: Run the 11-mile route that snakes through the city streets and parks, entertain their Iditariders, pose for photos, talk to reporters and — importantly — survive the day without any problems. (ITC)

Texans,Vote early, vote often and vote Obama.

The caller ID tipped me off to the call from my younger brother in Texas. Being the funniest guy I know I answered as the Obama donation hotline. “Knock it off smart ass this is serious. The election is next week and I don’t know who to vote for.”he said sternly. “Haven’t you been reading my blog?” I ask incredulously. “Ya Ya, but have you looked at this guy? He is to the left of Lenin and plans to spend billions of dollars and, and, and …..” Take a breath my brother and let me explain.

Some have argued that Republicans voting in the Democrat’s primary is just silly gamesmanship or dirty pool. I would call it politics. I look at this as an opportunity for the people of Texas make history. They can tell their kids and grand kids that they changed the tone of politics of America. Returning the Clinton's to the White House means at least four more years of the divisiveness of the nineties on a scale that would make the Bush years look like a day at Disneyland. I don’t know about you but the noise and drama of that duo has grown tiresome.

Those that agree with me and have already voted feel like we are watching a movie where the heroine has the opportunity to kill the monster but hesitates with a tinge of compassion and the monster takes her moment of indecision and proceeds to eat her ass. I am in the audience screaming “JUST DO IT!”. Pardon my derangement but I just want to see the Clinton Machine and all it embodies run out of town before sundown.

I am not naive enough to believe that an Obama or McCain presidency will mean that the loons will tone down the vehemence but at least it is a new start. I do believe however, that the mushy headed middle of the American electorate will by election day see the hollowness of Obama and McCain will ultimately prevail. If I am wrong of course I always have the fall back position that the Senate Republicans will continue to yank Harry Reid’s chain at every opportunity and the damage that the democrats can inflict, the descent into a socialist state, will be kept to a minimum.

So remember my Texan brethren. Vote early, vote often and vote Obama!

Update: Texas Republicans are crossing over to Obama. "But a significant proportion say they are temporarily backing Obama for strategic reasons. They plan to vote Republican in November, but for now, their goal is to try to make sure Clinton cannot win." Via Hot Air

" Our long national nightmare may soon be over. Via Hugh Hewitt

March 01, 2008

Iditarod 36

A record 96 mushers have signed up and paid the $3000 entrants fee to take the ultimate adventure trip across 1049 miles of the most beautiful yet dangerous country on God's green earth. Or in this case white earth. They are harnessing up over 1500 dogs and heading down 4th Avenue in Anchorage this morning for the ceremonial start of this years Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race. Tomarrow the real race begins as they depart Willow for Nome. Good luck mushers!


The Teams.

Getting out of Town. Anchorage 4Th Ave Web Cam.

News from the trail. The Anchorage Daily News

Iditarod Trail Committee Home Page

How Not to Release a Bear.

See the rest of this interesting photo series here.
Thx to Maggies Farm