Our great Alaska motorhome adventure
We've been talking about our great Alaska adventure for a couple of years and preparing for tomorrow's launch since last summer.
Of course, we're both reporters and researchers and readers. And we've been doing our homework as well as our planning even though we won't remember every tiny detail we've read and won't follow every detail of Susan's 17-page (single-spaced) plan. Memories are short and planning is a learning experience.
We agree that when we break our plans and forget what we've read, we'll still be better off and having more fun than we would if we hadn't done our reading or planning.
So we both began our reading on RVForum.net. That's where many motorhome owners journal, blog and show pictures of their trips to Alaska from the lower 48.
Then we bought, read and still are using these guide books for RV and motorhome travelers:
1. The Milepost (2012 and 2013 editions) themilepost.com.
2. Travelers Guide to Alaskan Camping; Alaska and Yukon camping with RV or tent.
3. Guide to the Alaska Highway, 2nd ed., By Ron Dalby. http://www.menasharidge.com
4. Brochures from TravelAlaska.com and NorthtoAlaska.com.
5. Pacific Northwest Camping Destinations; RV and car camping destinations in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, 3rd ed., by Mike and Terri Church. rollinghomes.com.
6. Alaska & Canada's Inside Passage Cruise Tour Guide. Coastal Tour Guides, publisher.
7. Frommer's Alaska 2011.
1. The Klondike Fever; the life and death of the last great gold rush, by Pierre Berton, 1958, Carroll & Graf Publishers, 457 pp. Fantastic, must read for history buffs.
2. Coming into the Country by John McPhee. 1997 (438 pp.)
A couple of coffee table books not worth mentioning.
1. Alaska by James Michener
2. Two Old Women, by Velma Wallis. Search web for the title to get to Amazon, Wikipedia coverage of this book. Quick, interesting read.
3. Call of the Wild, by Jack London, a Kondike gold rush survivor. I've downloaded from Amazon for $2.99 the Delphi complete works of Jack London and a collection of his short stories about Canada and Alaska. When the mood strikes me, I'll read some of the stories.
4. Tisha, a somewhat doctored autobiography of a teacher in Chicken, AK, as "told" to and embellished, etc., by Robert Specht, who didn't bother to put the teacher's name on the cover of the book. Interesting and entertaining, but online reviews make me take the story with a grain of salt.
5. Sitka, by Louis L'Amour.
RvForum.net. Go to the message board, search Alaska. You'll know our contributions when you see them.
A YouTube tour of our 2013 Itasca Reyo (T model) motorhome. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COuaZxL50Jw
3 political books I’m reading: Coolidge, The three languages of politics, Act of Congress
How farmers can get more folks up to date on agriculture
Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, warns that if rural America, or farmers, don't become more like other Moocher Nation Democrats, they'll lose even more influence in Washington, according to the left-leaning Associated Press story pubished on Politico.com. My comment on the story:
As the owner of a farm, I know that farmers are a big part of the Moocher Nation. We get our crop subsidies, government money to improve our land and nice tax credits for all kinds of things like having kids and getting home mortgages.
At the same time, the mostly Red States that gave the GOP control of the House are more rural than most Blue states. So farm states still have some clout.
The problem is that folks like Sen. Grassley (R-IA), a corn and beans farmer, defends and advocates Moocher Nation ag subsidies like ethanol, which are a huge indirect tax on urban American and rural America alike. Ethanol and wind power scams and ag subsidy programs, which is a lot of members of Congress are responding to voters demands that ethanol and wind power programs be cut from the Federal budget.
Now, the federal money and ethanol money is nice to have and hard to give up.
That farmers work for every penny is described in a wonderful book, Farm, a year in the life of an American farmer, by Richard Rhodes.
Agribusinesses should distribute Rhodes' book to every high school and college English teacher in the country and offer free copies to teachers who want to assign it to their students. And farmers should make sure that English and lit teachers in their high schools and community colleges assign the book to every student.
At the same time, the book should be distributed in lots of 10 to every Congressional office and all of the employees of the USDA, EPA and Commerce Dept. Those folks are readers. Give them a good read.
Econ books have used the grain markets to demonstrate the principles of supply and demand. The agribusiness world should encourage this and promote more ag econ teaching in community colleges and colleges.
Too see how high tech and complicated farming is, check out Iowa State University's curriculum for its ag majors.
Meanwhile, the Sec. of Agriculture is just unhappy that his wife lost her run for Congress in Iowa and that farmers put aside their personal financial interests and voted for their country and Romney, not for Divider-in-Chief Obama.
Maybe the farm bill would have a better chance if it didn't include so much spending on food stamps, which help too many of the near poor as the truly poor buy more junk food and bankrupt the country.
Agriculture • Farming • Books • Education • Marketing and Sales • Promotions • Permalink
Emily Lambert’s “The Futures, the rise of the speculator. . .” is disappointing
During the 60s and 70s I wrote hundreds of stories and weekly columns about the futures markets, the Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chicago Options Exchange and several of the characters mentioned in "The Futures, the rise of the speculator and the origins of the world's biggest markets," by Emilly Lambert, a Chicago-based reporter for Forbes.
Agriculture • Futures Markets • Books • Speculation • Permalink
John Andrews’ ‘Responsibility Reborn’ is a good read
John Andrews has written a book, Responsibility Reborn, that many Small Government Americans will want to read.
'12 President • Books • Ethics • Taxes • Read More
Tyler Cowen: U.S. in for long period of slow growth
Republicans and Democrats need to read Tyler Cowen's new 15,000-word book, The great stagnation: How America ate all of the low hanging fruit of modern history, got sick and will (eventually) feel better. It's a $4 ebook at Amazon and will be published in hard cover June 9.
The highly regarded economist and blogger (http://www.marginalrevolution.com), blames the financial crisis on the reality that "We thouight that we were richer than we are." Further, he says we're still stuck with the dangerous optimism that we can grow out of what may become a double dip recession.
That won't happen, he warns, because the low hanging fruit of innovation and great opportunities have been picked for 40 years and it will be awhile before a new development like free 18th and 19th century land, the rail roads, telegraph, phones, autos, air planes, etc. comes along.
Thus, politicians can no longer credibly promise that tax cuts or more government spending will cause the economy to grow more than 2% a year. He predicts that as a result, Big Government growth will slow or even disappear and that our future depends on our ability to reform education and encourage our brightest to become scientist and engineers. He says we must celebrate scientists and engineers and give them the status of today's investment bankers, lawyers and physicians.
Bottom line: No president nor Congress can claim to have the solution for our slow economic growth. To make such claims shows a lack of integrity and a total misunderstanding of where we are in the economic development cycle.
Along the way, Cowen relates how America picked the low hanging fruit to become the most prosperous and powerful nation in the world. He explains that modern communications generated Big Governments around the world, that increased spending on education since 1970 has provided few benefits to kids and that increased government spending on health care is not stimulating growth. 10% of the book is filled with fascinating notes. There is no index.
David Brooks calls the book the most debated book of the year. This week's Business Week has a glowing story about Cowen. Take a couple of hours and catch up on the thinking of one of today's leading and best informed libertarians and economists.
Ed Perlmutter voted against Colorado on taxes, ObamaCare, the stimulus, financial regulation bill
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter wants to reinstate an expensive death tax. And he will vote against the people of Colorado any time he gets the chance. All you have to do is look at his spend and tax record. He voted for the failed stimulus bill, the failing ObamaCare bill. Nancy Pelosi Democrat Perlmutter has voted for bills that are sending jobs over seas, according to his GOP challenger, Ryan Frazier. This is Frazier's latest ad:
Books • Colorado • Campaign videos • Politics • Permalink
GOP candidates don’t want to be smeared as ‘Dan Maes Republicans’
No Colorado Republican candidate who has read The Blueprint or lived through a recent losing legislative campaign will set themselves up to be smeared by Democrats as “Dan Maes Republicans.”
Books • Colorado • Politics • PPC • Read More
Why don’t many Republicans care about Dan Maes’ lying about his resume?
Why don’t many Republicans, conservatives or libertarians care that Dan Maes has been embellishing his record as a business executive, which I consider the equivalent of lying on his resume? And why don’t Obama Democrats care about the president’s lies?
The simple answer is that a lot of people lie on their resumes and otherwise and excuse it. According to The Cheating Culture by David Callahan (HarcourtBooks.com, 2004, $26, 353 pp), some 40% of executives and new college graduates have lied on their resumes. Some executive recruiters say nearly half of job applicants lie on their resumes. If voters habitually lie, they don’t care if Dan Maes tries to turn his mediocre business career into a ladder to political power as governor of Colorado.
Search the internet for “resume lying” and you’ll find dozens of stories and articles about dishonest job applicants and lying on resumes.
Note that more often than not in the private sector, resume lies disqualify job applicants immediately.
But in politics, the same voters who complain about corrupt politicians elect them even after they’re resume lies have been exposed. The leading U.S. Senate candidates in Illinois and Connecticut, a Republican and a Democrat respectively, have had their resume lies exposed this year. They have good chances of being elected regardless.
In her article, Lying on your resume: why it won’t work, Michelle Goodman writes in part:
Ditto for Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate who recently was outed by the New York Times for having fabricated his supposed combat experience during the Vietnam War. (Although Blumenthal did join the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1970, he never served in Vietnam.)
Then there’s U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who’s running for the Senate. He, too, has been accused of exaggerating his military record, claiming an award he never received and combat duty in Iraq he never served.
What’s really discouraging is that folks who lie on their resumes probably lie about other things that affect their careers and lives. They tell lies when they buy and sell. They lie to themselves, their spouses, their kids and friends. And they think they’re fine, principled Americans.
Lying on your resume: Why it won’t work. By Michelle Goodman.
How to catch those lying liars. By J. Jennings Moss.
Lying on your resume may hinder your career in the future. By Lee Miller.
The Cheating Culture; why more Americans are doing wrong to get ahead. By David Callahan.
Books • Colorado • Politics • PPC • Ethics • Permalink
Tea Party ‘bible’:The Star Fish and the Spider
The Starfish and the Spider supposedly is must reading for politicians trying to understand the power of the Tea Party and how it may self-destruct, according to Kenneth P. Vogel. Read his story and then download the book to your Kindle or Kindle reader.
Tea Party, 9-12 and similar groups get their power from their leaderless decentralization. If they accept national leaders and start running candidates, they’ll be easy targets for the major parties.
Books • Colorado • Politics • PPC • Permalink
Lang Sias continues to promote ‘defamatory e-mail’ attack on his record; it’s an old dirty trick
In an e-mailed fundraising appeal in support of Lang Sias, a GOP candidate for Colorado’s CD-7 nomination, former U.S. Rep. from CD-7, Bob Beauprez, writes:
I would also encourage all of you to visit Lang’s website and read his Navy performance evaluations, which he released several weeks ago in response to a defamatory e-mail attack on his record. You’ll see poignant testimony to Lang’s courage, integrity, leadership and work ethic.
As I’ve pointed out before, it is very strange that Sias is promoting a “defmatory attack” on his record. It’s strange until you know that such a tactic is designed to imply that your leading opponent or his supporter is somehow responsible for that attack.
In his autobiography, Courage and Consequence, Karl Rove says on page 77 that “Most elections are conducted among too many voters for an Internet smear or ugly flyer or whispered rumor to turn the contest.”
Taking a real or made up annoyomous smear and hyping it to gain attention and sympathy is an old dirty trick. Most candidates and their campaign managers are too smart to use the ploy. Sias has been playing that card for several weeks, and now he’s sucked Beauprez into using it in a fundraising appeal. Shame on both men!
Meanwhile, conservative fellow blogger and Rocky Mountain Alliance member, Ben DeGrow, has written a long post questioning why Beauprez is supporting Sias. On the Peoples Press Collective version of his piece, a couple of commenters are wondering whether the strongly anti-abortion Beauprez, former Rep. Tom Tancredo and former CD-7 candidate, Jimmy Lakey, have a hidden social issues agenda and are promoting that agenda by backing Sias. Are they more worried about their social issues agenda than about beating incumbent Democrat, Ed Perlmutter. Apparently.
Ryan Frazier, the leading GOP candidate in CD-7, is as strong on the social issues as Sias is, according to DeGrow and others.
Books • Colorado • Politics • PPC • Ethics • Trust • Permalink
How many Colorado candidates are running Karl Rove’s type of campaigns?
How many Colorado Republican candidates are running “Rovian” campaigns this year? How many Democrats are?
Although President Barack Obama obviously adopted many of Karl Rove’s tactics and expanded on his advanced use of voter data bases and internet technology to wage a winning campaign in 2008, only a few Colorado candidates seem to executing the Rovian campaign strategies.
In his autobiography, Courage and Consequence, My life as a Conservative in the Fight, Rove devotes a chapter to explaining the Rovian strategy. He uses a three or four other chapters to give his version of what happen in various campaigns that he ran, including President George W. Bush’s gubernatorial campaigns and his campaigns for president in 2000 and 2004 and his campaigns for Republicans in the off-year Congressional elections of 2002 and 2006. Rove also attempts to knock down what he calls “the Rove myth” or legend and to settle scores with political and media critics. And he admits to several important political mistakes and misjudgments. Nobody’s perfect. The rest of the book is devoted to putting Rove’s very positive spin on Bush’s foreign and domestic policy decisions, which most readers will take with various sizes of grains of salt.
For candidates, their strategists and their supporters, the chapter “What is a Rovian Campaign” is the most interesting and worth the price of the book. Rove says there are eight “hallmarks” to a Rovian campaign, and the first four are critical.
- “A campaign must be first centered on big ideas that reflect the candidate’s philosophy and views and that are perceived by voters as important and relevant.”
- A campaign must be “persistent in pursuing this strong, persuasive theme in a way that resonates with what voters know.
- Use historical data to figure out a candidate’s opportunities to find more votes—precinct by precinct and county by county.
- Publicly available data should be put into sophisticated models that can help identify potential supporters and match them with issues in ways that will get them to turn out for an election.
- Criticize opponents in focused attacks on substantial, not trivial issues and openly with facts that can be backed up, preferably with the opponent’s own words as shown on You Tube.
- Every campaign needs a strategic plan and the discipline and bias for action to execute it.
- Make broad use of “volunteer-friendly” technology.
- Resources count: knowledge and information for the candidate, volunteers who will help get out the vote and money.
Rove puts his hallmarks in context throughout the book. He’s a good story teller and writer. And, as mentioned above, he’s very loyal to the Bushes and his other clients. What Rove doesn’t cover very well is how Bush raised record amounts for his campaigns. Nor does he discuss in great detail how 527 and other outside groups affected his campaigns.
Books • Colorado • Politics • PPC • Permalink
Should your health insurance premiums be based on your lifestyle, habits and weight?
A lot of young, fit and healthy health policy wonks and politicians think that the scum they’re trying to rule—the obese, gymnphobes who drink and smoke more than the wonks and sanctimonious politicians do—should be punished by being charged higher health insurance premiums than those who are born with the right genes pay.
The healthy and purely lucky elitists speak and preach, of course, with
Books • Health insurance • Health Insurance Reform • Read More
Carbon dioxide critical for crop growth, saving water
While Gorean global warming alarmists are demanding that the amount of carbon dioxide particles in the atmosphere be kept below 350 parts per million, climate scientists have found that the more carbon dioxide the better when it comes to growing crops and saving water, which is in short supply around the world, according to Steven D. Levitt, a University of Chicago economist. Levitt co-authored Super Freakonomics with Stephen J. Dubner.
In short, politicians like Governor Bill Ritter, President Barack Obama, Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall and Reps. Diana DeGette, John Salazar and Jared Polis are barking up the wrong trees with their advocacy of alternative energy, carbon cap and tax legislation and government-subsidized green jobs that aren’t so green.
In chapter five of his new book, Levitt quotes some of the most famous scientists and experts on the world’s climate. They point out that not only is carbon dioxide highly beneficial to agriculture, but also that it accounts for only 2% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Water vapor accounts for more than 50% of greenhouse gases, but scientists won’t be able to accurately measure it’s impact on global warming for another 10 or more years.
Books • Colorado • Economics • Energy • Read More
Steven E. Sondergard’s ‘Climate balance’ is an important book
For some time I’ve been planning to review Coloradan Steve Sondergard’s new book, Climate Balance: A balanced and realistic view of climate change.
I still plan to do that, but in the meantime, the book gets three positive reviews at Amazon. Bill Muehlenberg offers a long list of books that global warming skeptics like me might like. Every politician and policy maker should read this book. Links: