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Against Senator’s Murkowski’s Moratorium

Today Senator Murkowski used Facebook to announce her call for a moratorium on the admission of Syrian refugees to this country. At 10,000, we’re only proposing to accept a tiny sliver of the FOUR MILLION seeking refuge. I think this moratorium is wrong and wrote the following message to Senator Murkowski:


Dear Senator Murkowski,

It was with sadness that I read your statement urging a moratorium on admission of Syrian refugees to the United States. I’m very disappointed that you turned a deaf ear to our faith community who urged you not to turn away the innocent. You claim you do not support such a thing, but an indefinite moratorium is the same as turning people away. It feeds the impression that “that the American people are no longer sympathetic or welcoming.” You have joined hands with 26 governors and every single Republican Presidential candidate who reject welcoming people at their time of need. Even your own Facebook page now has a number of comments from constituents who have equated all refugees with terrorists.

I believe your stance is a betrayal of the principles in Matthew 25 and of the compassion for immigrants and refugees advocated by Pope Francis. But I understand you cannot govern the country by Catholicism or Christianity. Unlike the leaders of Daesh, we have separation of Church and State.

However, your actions, along with the actions of all others calling for the barring of refugees or making the assumption they are a major security risk are playing in Daesh’s hands. Daesh tells all Muslims that the West is against them. That Muslims will be treated as potential terrorists in the West. That in the end, there is a clash between Islam and Christianity. By giving into the fears of some of your constituents, you have endorsed Daesh’s propaganda.

I’m sorry to sound harsh, but the modest security gains (if any) from the moratorium you are calling for are more than swamped by the propaganda victory for Daesh. Please reconsider your position, especially in view of so many things, including gun violence and auto accidents that take more lives than 9/11 did every single year.


Senator Dan Sullivan is on record as being harsher than Murkowski, as is Representative Don Young. I am sad that my whole delegation has given in to fear.


Why I need not be frightened of Santorum, Cruz, Perry or other second tier Republican Candidates

The latest poll from Fox News puts Donald Trump at the top of the Republican field, with 18 percent. Scott Walker is in second at 15 percent, and Jeb Bush is third at 14 percent. No one else reaches double-digits in the national survey: Rand Paul, 8%; Marco Rubio, 7%; Ben Carson, 6%; Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, 4%; Chris Christie, 3%; John Kasich and Rick Santorum, 2%; Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal and George Pataki each received one percent or less. Remember: the top 10, as decided by Fox, get into the first debate next month. Yesterday, Univision released its own poll showing that 7 in 10 Hispanic registered voters have an unfavorable impression of Trump.

via The Daily 202 from PowerPost.

Every day I seem to get some breathless report about some new outrageous thing a Republican presidential primary candidate has said. And I’m not talking about the eye rollers from joint front runners Trump, Walker and Bush. It’s like “Can you believe that Santorum said that?” “Have you heard the latest devilry from Ted Cruz?” “OMG Rick Perry is going to turn the US into a theocracy!”

I’d like to ask everyone to take a deep breath and forget them for the time being. Look at that national poll again. No one besides Trump, Walker and Bush hits the double digits. And they have plenty of in their records to complain about. Let’s not dilute criticism of these records with angst over people who quite likely will be gone from the field next Spring. Don’t give them attention they don’t deserve.

Give Bernie Sanders some attention if you want. He’s polling around 15% among Democrats. That makes him more popular in his party than EVERYONE in the latest Fox poll except The Donald. If you’re a progressive, spreading hopeful stories about Bernie makes more sense than worrying about dead enders like Cruz and Santorum.

If other Republicans can break double digits, I’ll pay attention to them. Or if a Republican emerges who’s not simple a “Me too! But I’m tougher and cut more taxes and bomb more countries than those losers!” I’ll pay attention. Until then I don’t think the scary stories are worth my time or yours. Unless you’re a Republican voter.

Don Young Consponsors – Text – H.R.702 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): To adapt to changing crude oil market conditions. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress

via Text – H.R.702 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): To adapt to changing crude oil market conditions. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress.

I checked out this bill because the title seemed like it was trying to hide something. This bill lifts all restrictions on the export of crude oil. They could have just said that in the title.

Hiking Windfall Lake Trail: Way Beyond the Red Line


Windfall Lake Trail, Juneau Alaska


Windfall Lake from Windfall Lake Cabin, May 30, 2015


Windfall Lake Cabin. End of the Windfall Lake Trail.

Today I hiked the Windfall Lake Trail at Mile 27 of Glacier Highway. My original plan was to:

  • Get up around 6 am.
  • Leave about 7 am.
  • Get to the trail about 7:30 and allow for two hours to the cabin and back. I was going to use my MapMyWalk app to track my distance.
  • Spend about a half hour at the cabin reading thru its log book – always entertaining reading.
  • Get home sometime around 2 pm to give my spouse the car

Aside from it actually taking two hours from the trailhead to the cabin and another two hours back, nothing about the day went to plan. But that was ok.

Let’s start at the beginning. My eyes snapped open at 3:30 am. I had gotten to bed around 10:30 pm, so I wasn’t actually refreshed. I tried going back to sleep but gave up around 4 am. I made coffee, got breakfast and put my hiking bag together. I was in the car before 5 am, headed to the trailhead.

The Windfall Lake Trail isn’t exactly well-marked and I had only hiked it once before. I wound up passing it by the first time. This actually worked out well because I wound up stopping near Eagle Beach and got to see mountains over the sea and some geese in the water. I took pictures with my phone and wished I had my regular camera because it would have gotten a better picture of the geese. I got back into the car and made it back to the trailhead. The trailhead is almost exactly at mile 27 and is located on the Juneau side of the bridge over the Herbert River. It starts out as a wide dirt road, then becomes an actual trail.

When I got out of my car, I tried to set MapMyWalk. It couldn’t get a lock on GPS or on the data network. It’s indicators just spun sadly. So I turned off my location service and set a stop watch. While it would have been nice to know the exact mileage, not having MapMyWalk worked out well because I could stop and take pictures without worrying about how it would affect my pace.

Not having GPS or phone service did bring to mind Commander Adama’s line from the 2003 Battlestar Galactica miniseries:

We’ve jumped way beyond the Red Line into uncharted space.

21st Century problems.

The trail was beautiful and easy, especially compared with last week’s trip on the DuPont trail. The three miles to the cabin were relatively easy. I stopped frequently to take photos. I saw a few more geese and at least one eagle. I was very impressed with how tall the evergreen trees were and kept looking up at the forest canopy.

There was a lot of board walk on the trail. This is great on dry days, but I think would be a lot harder on wet days. There were fallen trees on the trail, but fortunately our local trails group had sawed out the chunks that would have been on the trail itself. There wasn’t much in the way of wildflowers aside from white Dogwoods. Can’t wait to see how colorful the forests and meadows will be in late June/July.

I reached the lake and cabin (2nd and 3rd photos above) about 7:45 am. I looked around a bit, took some photos. I wasn’t sure whether the cabin had been rented the previous night. I looked in one of the windows and saw large glasses on the table. Rented. They had the place till 9 or 9:30. So I started backing away. Not fast enough to keep their dog from barking. I continued leaving quietly and no one came out. I hope they were able to get back to sleep.

The way back was just as pretty as the way in, just with more sun and more mosquitoes. It was morning twilight when I started and now the sun was well above the horizon. I seldom wish for sunglasses in Juneau, but I did today.

I was back at the trailhead just before 10 am. This worked out well because it meant I was able to do some grocery shopping and meet my spouse and a friend for lunch.

So – a day where little went according to plan, but it was all good. Now I think I need a nap. But I’ll definitely be back this summer, unlike DuPont.


Battlestar Galactica (2003) Quotes, IMDB

Windfall Lake Trail, US Forest Service

DuPont (Pt. Bishop) Trail, US Forest Service

Cooking Thoughts

imageA few days ago, I wrote about how I used the Douglas Public Library as a work space to finally organize my loose collected recipes into a binder.

I just wanted to write that I have started to put my binder to use. Our Full Circle Farm box arrived yesterday and had one bunch of spinach. I usually use most of the spinach before it spoils by putting into sandwiches and salads. But I wanted to see if I could do something more creative with it. I opened up my binder, looked under side dishes and found the recipe above.

While this recipe is technically for kale, it says it can be used for just about any other green. I wound up making another substitution. I don’t have fresh garlic on hand, so I used some of my near infinite store of garlic powder. I think I used a heaping teaspoon. I was afraid I would have to substitute something for the balsamic vinegar, but happily there was a third of a bottle in the back of a cabinet I hadn’t touched for months. It’s got enough vinegar to make this recipe ten times over. Which I expect to. Even with garlic powder and god knows how old vinegar, I really liked how this spinach and onion dish turned out and so did my wife. I’m looking forward to trying this dish with the other greens — after I get more fresh garlic.

Aside from fulfilling my “Write. Every. Day” requirement, I’m sharing this story because I’m happy that I progressed from:

“What I am going to do with all these stupid loose recipes?” to “I could put them into a binder, but where’s a #$%#$ three hole punch and space to organize?” to “Great! Now I have a binder of recipes, 80% of which I’ve never tried.” to “I’m using my organized recipes to cook something while it is still fresh. This is awesome!”

I got some pleasure in my life by taking some small steps. I hope you will have a similar experience soon.


Douglas Public Library Helped Me Solve a Problem, 5/24/2015

Hiking Treadwell Ditch Trail




Today I hiked part of the Treadwell Ditch Trail on Douglas Island in Juneau Alaska. I accomplished this without getting into a car. I left my house, got to Crowhill Avenue and walked to the end of the paved road. I walked around the gate at the end of the road and after about ten minutes arrived at the Gastineau Meadows Trailhead. I took the switchbacks through mountain meadows to reach the Treadwell Ditch Trail. Then it was a matter of walking uphill for a couple of hours. I saw birds, skunk cabbage, bridges streams. Several times I felt gratitude to Trail Mix, our local trails organization that works with the feds, state and city to maintain our trails. They put in new bridges and reinforce sagging parts of the trail. It was a good reminder that there are some things (like maintain a great trail) we simply can’t do working alone.

I kept walking until just past the trailhead for the Dan Moller Cabin Trail, which splits off from the Treadwell Ditch Trail. It had been about 2.5 hours, so I turned around. Partly because it was a decent turnaround point, but mostly because I was meeting friends for a 1pm lunch and wanted to get home in time to shower and change.

On previous trips up this trail, I made it a loop by taking the Blueberry Hill exit off the trail. This trailhead is in a pricey neighborhood of Douglas and one walks down some steep streets down to Douglas Highway where one can either walk along the highway or wait for a bus. I’ve done both and I’ve always found the walk down on pavement to be hard on my feet. So I decided to simply go back the way I came. It had more roots and rocks, but ultimately more fun than the streets to highway to home path.

I got home around noon, about when I expected to. I’d been gone about five hours and hiked 9.6 miles according to my MapMyWalk app. Part of my wanted to wander around to get that last 0.4 miles to get 10 miles, but my feet wanted nothing to do with that plan. So I stayed home, changed showered and had a lovely lunch with friends at the Sandpiper, probably the best breakfast/lunch place in Juneau.

That’s how I spent my Saturday. How did you spend yours?


Treadwell Ditch Trail

Gastineau Meadows Trail (also includes information on Treadwell Ditch Trail)

Trail Mix

Dan Moller Trail

Day 9: Full Circle Ambivalance

My wife and I subscribe to an every other week box of fruit and vegetables from Full Circle, an outfit that sources from small farmers and delivers to consumers. They do deliveries in Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and the San Francisco Bay Area.

My wife and I have lived in Alaska since 1998. When we lived in the lower 48 we were big fans of farmers markets. Not only did the produce tend to be fresher, we appreciated the chance to support small farmers directly. Both of us feel that keeping some diversity in our food chain is important and that corporations rarely treat individual farming families well.

But Juneau, while technically on the North American mainland, has an island like atmosphere cut off from the road system. And we have a fairly poor growing climate and limited land. We have some great gardeners, but farming on a commercial-scale doesn’t seem feasible. So when Full Circle – then Full Circle Farms – first started offering produce to Juneau, we jumped at the chance. There have been a few periods when we’ve dropped the subscription but we came back.

Generally the produce is of good quality. When it’s not Full Circle is great about issuing credits.  We generally use most of what comes in our box and it’s a greater variety of fruits and vegetables than we would buy for ourselves. As advertised, the food does come from small growers.

So why I am ambivalent? Mostly because of the distances our produce has to travel. Buying organic local produce to be lighter on the Earth doesn’t seem as Earth-friendly once you’re shipping it a thousand miles. Also, Full Circle has gone beyond farms in their state to source stuff from as far away as Mexico. I’m not against foreign produce per se. I do wonder how I can say “I’m supporting local farming families!” If I’m sourcing my produce from foreign countries. On the other hand, they do seem to all be small farmers.

If you subscribe to Full Circle, especially if you’re outside their driving radius, I’d like to hear from you in comments. Do you think subscribing to Full Circle is supporting small farming? Why or why not?


Full Circle

Full Circle food sources

With this post, I surpassed my previous Write. Every. Day. streak of eight days. So now I will stop routinely prefacing my blog posts with the day number except:

1) When I hit certain mileposts, say 30 days of writing every day.

2) When I fall off the wagon and need to restart.


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