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National Park Assault

The assault on the environment by the Bush Administration continues unabated on all fronts. The National Park Conservation Association (NPCA) has been opposing the rewrite of the nation park management policies that Paul Hoffman (deputy assistant secretary of the Interior) spearheaded. The rewrite has the potential to open a panoply of new abuses of the already beleaguered national parks. Oy vey.

Hoffman was appointed by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, who was in turn nominated by the Bush administration. Hoffman also used to work for Dick Cheney.. you see where this is leading don't you? The funny part is that the DOI website claims that Hoffman is a "conservationist". I know how some of these good ol' boys out of Montana and Wyoming operate. Their idea of "conservation" is making sure there's enough fuel in their snowmobile to make it to the "pit stop" aka place to drink booze and pee. Now mind you, I'm not against drinking, peeing or even hunting (as long as it's not apex predator hunting or trophy hunting). But drinking and riding any kind of motorized vehicle is just plain stupid. Just because trees don't make erratic lane changes doesn't make it safe to operate a snowmobile with 40oz of Schlitz pumping through your veins. But I digress.

If the rewrite is successful, folks like the NPCA and the NRDC (National Resouce Defense Council) are going to have an even harder time protecting our National Parks and wild lands from abuse. Should the rights of the few outweigh the rights of the many? Is this case, my answer is yes. The argument that "hey, you're a rock climber and you use national parks: what if they wanted to restrict you from climbing?" doesn't fly. Although there have been closures for climbers in some national parks, it has mostly been due to either protecting nesting raptors or because of a government giveaway to corporate special interests! Climbers in general tend to be thoughtful, methodical people as the act of climbing is a deliberate and methodical process. We also realize the beauty of the places we visit: what else would we want to get up so high to see? So if there's a good reason for me not to be climbing in an area, I would gladly yell at any idiots who ignored the closure. Hell, I'd even be tempted to cut their ropes if it meant protecting raptors, though I probably wouldn't. I'm digressing again, but suffice to say that I take the Burning Man ethos of "Leave No Trace" very very seriously, ESPECIALLY when I'm in an environmentally pristine or sensitive place.

Somehow I ended up defending myself here... Cheese & Rice, this was supposed to be a COUNTER-ATTACK on the National Park Management Policy rewrite! Ok, Back on target folks...

If you have a minute, visit the NPCA SITE, check out the text of the rewrite and decide for yourself.

No Alito!

I don't think Alito is going to be good for us. I tend to agree with that:

Alito would support President Bush's drive for unchecked executive power, which poses a grave threat to our basic rights.

Alito has fought for full immunity for administration officials who illegally spy on Americans, and Bush stands accused of just that crime.

Alito believes in a theory of the super-powerful "unitary executive" that would justify Bush's attempts to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial or charges.

Alito even opposed Morrison v. Olson which gave Congress the power to appoint a special counsel, that the president cannot just fire at will, to investigate presidential scandals.

These changes would not only threaten our rights in the short term under Bush, they would put our freedoms in jeopordy for decades to come.

I wrote a letter to the editor at the SF Chronicle. It probably won't get published (slightly inflamatory), but who knows, stranger things have happened. Here's my letter in case it doesn't get published. It's just such a masterful piece of writing *snicker*

Subject: No Alito!

Inre: Jesse H. Holland's "Alito Confirmation Seems All but Assured". The confirmation of Samuel Alito would be the killing stroke for personal freedoms in America. Judge Alito's stand on Morrison vs. Olson is the best example of this: the man isn't looking out for the interests of American citizens. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, future "letters to the editor" like this one could get you locked in a cell deep in the "Ministry of Love", never to be seen again. To the Dems: please attempt the filibuster, it may be our only hope.

Kudos to those of you who get the "Ministry of Love" reference. Those of you who don't, go here: 1984

Click the title of this post or HERE to read the AP Article I was responding to.


9/11 Strikes again...

9/11/2001 is a day that will live in infamy. Evidently there were some people who died that day and didn't realize it until just recently.


If you were exposed to the air in NYC that day, I seriously suggest you keep and eye on your lungs and respiratory health.

LA Law Student beats Ashcroft with fiery sjambok

My dear friend Liz posted a blog entry about the recent supreme court decision to block the Bu(ll)sh(it) Administration's attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients in Oregon die. There's not much here except the article, but I was happy to read it anyway. BTW, Liz is a law student at UCLA Law. Pretty soon I'll be able to say that I have a lawyer for a friend... whoa, scary.

ARTICLE or click on the title


Site of the Day: U.S Military acting badly

Whoever's idea this was... well, I'm sure they're rethinking it now. Maybe not. Maybe trying to silence this guy was the important part... what's ON those video tapes anyways? Will we ever see it? Not likely...

Click on the title or HERE to read the article... don't worry, it's short but not sweet...

I got this from my friend Chris's site, also known as WeBeGeeky

There's a permanent link in the friends section as well.

Whole Foods Ratchets it up a notch...

Well, I have always called it Whole Paycheck because of the elevated cost of shoppin there, but I do shop there a lot, and I do like the fact that they carry a lot of healthy organic food. This ARTICLE makes me happy, and I hope other big corps will follow suit... not all that likely, but hopefully, this will help increase the pressure. Thanks to WeBeGeeky once again for finding this morsel.

New Years Resolutions

Well, I made no attempt on NYE to make any kind of resolutions. Since I got the Xtracycle working (yes, I know, this is like the 4th blog entry about my xtracycle, but it's one of the most awesome things I've ever found!), I've figured out my resolutions for 2006.

I will reduce my trips by car 50% this year (over last year) by riding my bike and in doing this, I will lose all the weight I gained back in 2005. All of you who know me are obliged at reading this to check up on me once in a while and see how I'm doing with my resolutions. I'm more than happy to return the favor, and if you're game, come take a ride as a passenger on my bike.. I might even pull you up my steep ass hill!

BTW, the photo comes from the Xtracycle website... just so no one thinks I'm pirating... I tried to just link to it, but something's wrong with the html, and I'm too lazy to fix it, so I just uploaded a copy of it instead...


Xtracycle Rocks

Here's the deal. I bought a FreeRadical and accessories from the folks at Xtracycle about a month ago. I received the boxes of parts several weeks ago, but have been lagging in my assembly of it. I ended up getting a rigid frame bike so I could have a dedicated bike to run it on (my only other ride is a full suspension cross country bike which isn't compatible with the FreeRadical). I bought a Marin Novato (appropriate isn't it?) The main holdup was that it has been 8 or more years since I strung new cable on one of my bikes. 8+ years of gap makes for big gaps in the brain as well. Needless to say, I needed some help. I tried to enlist the aid of my younger brother Kevin , but getting time out of him is... difficult. He's a busy busy boy. So, I gave in to defeat and went to the shop where my brother used to work, Mike's Bikes in San Rafael. They hooked me up, and for 35 bucks, it was worth it to just have it done with. Josh the service manager routed my cable housings and did the initial hook up and adjustment of the front and rear derailleur's and brakes. I was just glad to have it done.

Kevin did end up coming by the following day and helping me... the rear brake lever was very slow returning to it's normal position after braking and it turns out Josh put a little too much grease on the cable. Oh well.. problem fixed.

My main point in writing this was to point out how much FUN the xtracycle has made riding for me again. I want to ride all the time... I really DO want to sell my car (although biking your toddler around in the rain is NOT too healthy when they're nursing a cold!), though I won't be. I think I'll be using it a lot less. The folks at Xtracycle really have come up with a better solution for bicycle living. This contraption really can replace a car. Speaking of which.. it's time to go pick up my son on the bike.

A final thought: check out Alastair Humphreys Round the World By Bike trip... truly inspiring and humbling. I've been reading through his travel logs, and though my duties as the father of a young child take ultimate precedent, I think when Kai gets a little older, he and I will need to do some travel by bike to different parts of the world. If his current preference for riding on the back of the bike is any indication of his future enthusiasm for the sport, he'll be raring to go.

Site of the Day: Erowid

Ok, if you've ever wondered about drugs... this is your place. They offer unbiased medical info on a huge variety of legal and illegal drugs. Knowledge is power, so POWER UP!

Erowid OR click on post title.