Recent comments

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    I agree with Russ, absolutely! First off, my hub and I, in our late 40's are in good physical shape and had no exertion issues with any of the climbing associated with A.L. or Hidden Canyon, which we had easlily hiked the day before to "warm up" for A.L. My husband (a "retired" mountaineer, who has also climbed Rainier and McKinley, climbed in Nepal and also most of the 14teeners here in CO), was shocked that the chains were the offered assist holds to "climbing" this hike...and that the audio recording on the shuttle up the canyon actually advocated this trail as the "most popular trail" in the system that gets "very interesting" the last half mile, making almost a mockery of this very serious trail hike. This and the absolutely ridiculous chain-as-handrail actually presents an increased risk to the (inexperienced) hiker by allowing a false sense of security and quite reasonably even throwing one's balance off from the natural and inviting fatality. As we descended back down Walter's Wiggles, we met no less than 50 hikers everywhere from 15 to 65 and all levels of fitness and inappropriate attire making their way up to what expectation? People DIE on this trail ("Google" it yourself to confirm)...though not a great marketing strategy, maybe the NP system could consider at least adding this to their pleasantly spoken caution, "your safety if your responsibility" line when making the meandering and otherwise wonderfully educational shuttle trip up the canyon. I could never have watched a child hike this climb after Scout's Landing without mountaineering gear.

  • Haleakala National Park Officials Call For Safety Summit For Bicyclists   6 years 46 weeks ago

    I thought I was going to be added to the list, the way some cyclists traverse those trails. (My apologies to some of you, but I was quicker than they were. Barely.) And yet I recall a recent article pertaining to expanding mountain-biking in the park system. True, they aren't the same type of biking, exactly. But this trail, at just under 10,000 ft. is pretty ambitious for a recreational rider. It'll be interesting to see who gets the blame for her hitting a stationary vehicle. Did she suffer from oxygen deprevation and temporarily black-out at the critical moment? Did she hit the coaster brake instead of hand brake? Did a tire blow out at the most inconvenient time? Was she run off the trail by as considerate a member of the group as I ran across out there? Was the driver violating a no-parking, cyclist-only zone? Sun in the eyes? Was she wearing a helmet?

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Glad to hear you have an open mind on the subject Frank. The American geology cabal are the same folks who made fun of Alfred Wegener and his silly notion of continental drift (plate tectonics) well into the late 1960's. (He proposed the theory in 1915 in a paper titled "The Origin of Continents and Oceans", which suggested an original unified landmass or “pangaea” more than 200 million years ago which separated into our present continents by what he called Continental Drift.). Did western geoscientists really think that the west coast of Africa fitting perfectly into the east coast of South America was a just mere coincidence? After reading Wegener didn't any of them have a globe handy in their office?

    The American science establishment (hooked on federal government funding like helpless junkies) has been a hand maiden of the military-industrial complex, Big Pharma and Big Oil for way too long. It's time we all woke up and began to question the orthodoxies that are foisted on us by these puppets in lab coats.

  • The Park Service's Historic Buildings Can Be Saved Without Resorting to Leases   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Fort Hancock - Does the Law Require Its Preservation? And HOW?

    The United States Supreme Court has held that the standard for the court’s review of agency actions such as that by the Department of the Interior/National Park Service on the Sandy Hook/Fort Hancock restoration is: “narrow and a court is not to substitute its judgment for that of the agency.” The NPS has considerable discretion to administer, use, and lease the properties it is tasked with protecting so long as it complies with applicable environmental laws. It is difficult almost to the point of impossibility to overturn such agency action, if procedural requirements have been followed.

    A case decided in Federal Court in New Jersey on September 13th will set a precedent in deciding whether restoration of historic buildings in the parks will be public or private. In her opinion in Save Sandy Hook Corporation v. the US Department of the Interior, Court No. 04-05908, US District Court Judge Mary Cooper explains the controlling law in great detail. She concluded that the issuance of the Finding of No Significant Impact [“FONSI”] with respect to the Fort Hancock rehabilitation project, and the lease with Sandy Hook Partners for 36 of the approximately 120 buildings within the historic district, did not violate any provision of the laws involved, and that the record demonstrated that the NPS had, as required, extensively analyzed all potential impacts of the rehabilitation and reuse of the District, including any caused by the SH Partners lease.

    "Specifically, the NPS examined all relevant data and articulated a rational and satisfactory explanation in the FONSI for selecting the Rehabilitation Alternative. It considered all appropriate factors and made all determinations before entering into the lease. Accordingly, the Court finds that the NPS’s decision to lease 36 buildings in the Fort Hancock Historic District to SH Partners was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or contrary to any law."

    There are four major laws governing this matter:

    The National Park Service Organic Act (“NPSOA”), which created the NPS as a branch of the Department of the Interior, was enacted in 1916. The NPSOA tasked the NPS with the responsibility for promoting and regulating the use of national parks, monuments, and reservations “to conserve the . . . historic objects . . . therein and . . . gives the Secretary . . . the authority to enter into a lease with any person or governmental entity for the use of buildings and associated property . . . .

    The Gateway National Recreation Act (“GNRA”) requires the Secretary of the Interior to inventory and evaluate all structures with potential historical significance located in the Sandy Hook unit, and “provide for appropriate programs for the preservation, restoration, interpretation, and utilization of them.”

    The National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”) . . . establishes that it is the policy of the federal government to encourage the public and private sector to preserve and utilize all usable elements of the Nation’s historic buildings and environment.

    The National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) does not mandate that a federal agency reach a particular result, but instead prescribes the necessary process the agency must employ to reach its result. . . . The agency is not constrained by NEPA from deciding that other values outweigh the environmental costs.

    On environmental issues, the Court held that: (1) the NPS proceedings were conducted in compliance with the NEPA, (2) the conclusions reached by the NPS are supported by the official record [30 volumes containing more than 9,000 pages], and (3) the proposed action is consistent with the purposes of the NEPA. It examined the revised Environmental Assessment, which evaluated (1) a No Action Alternative; and (2) a Rehabilitation Alternative (Proposed Action) that would permit the rehabilitation and reuse of 100 historic structures in the Fort Hancock Historic District. This assessment concluded that The No Action Alternative would have a major, long-term adverse impact on the historic buildings in the District, with a continued loss of significant, character-defining features; continued deterioration of the buildings; and loss both of the sense of the historical period of significance, and the military feeling of the landscape.

    "After some number of years of continued deterioration, the physical features of the National Historic Landmark would not remain sufficiently intact for the property to convey its association with significant historic events."

    Because the Rehabilitation Alternative would be executed in conformity with the Secretary’s Standards [as well as those of the NJ State Historic Preservation Office, which are even more stringent], the Court accepted the finding by NPS that there would be no negative impact to the buildings and structures, and that the rehabilitation of buildings in the area, and replacement of missing historic trees and foundation plantings at prominent locations would have a major, long-term beneficial effect.

    Fort Hancock is one of fourteen National Historic Districts within Monmouth County, and area resplendent with colonial and revolutionary history. As such it has already been determined to be “significant to this Nation’s heritage.” The Fort and the buildings within it are therefore deserving of preservation; the law as it stands now requires that the NPS do it; and to accomplish this they have selected what they believe to be the only viable alternative.

    The state of government financing of the Nation’s park system dictates that the mandated preservation of Fort Hancock can only be done with private financing. The Sandy Hook Foundation has restored the Lighthouse Keepers’ quarters [now its headquarters], and, in conjunction with the New Jersey Lighthouse Society, the Lighthouse itself [the Nation’s oldest]. The Foundation is now going on to one of the coastal mortar batteries, another ambitious project that will cost in excess of $1,000,000. But we're not dealing with one or two buildings now. The entire Fort Hancock project is too large for the Foundation, the more than half-dozen other NGO’s already present, and the new ones that will be added under the minimum 30% educational use required under the lease. The rest will have to be “commercial.” Sorry Kurt!

    Anyone with experience in administrative law should know that unless the controlling laws don’t mean what they seem to say, there is nothing to appeal in the Court’s decision. Save Sandy Hook will have done nothing but delay the preservation of these crumbling buildings, increasing the cost of their restoration. They will almost assuredly lose in the end, will have to pay the government’s and Sandy Hook Partner’s costs, and will have more firmly set historic restoration within the parks on the path of private financing that, at least for larger projects, will have to be commercial.

  • Public Lands Day. Wahoo.   6 years 46 weeks ago

    And, really, isn't it a bit ironic that we have to have a "Public Lands Day" to gain free entry onto public lands our tax dollars supposedly support?

    National Public Lands Day is more of a 'get out the volunteers' type of day. The 'free entry' is a bonus thrown in to encourage folks to come out and support their public lands.

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    I fought my former county of residence for years to create a safe way for the kids in our community to walk ACROSS THE STREET so they wouldn't have to be provided a bus. I am totally serious -- these kids live less than 100 feet from school property and they are given a big yellow diesel monster to help them across the street. At another elementary school nearby the bus literally pulled out of the school driveway, came to a stop, and let the kids out of the bus. The pervasive American mentality is that bicyclists and pedestrians are impediments to smooth traffic flow, and should be discouraged at all costs. Meanwhile the kids are getting fatter and fatter each year as parents whose kids ARE provided a bus drive them to school anyway. Some people will just never cut back, conserve, or heaven forbid SACRIFICE one iota unless they are forced to. At the local high school they decided that sophomores wouldn't be issued parking permits because of limited space, and guess who stormed the school office and board of education? The parents did. So now they have a nice new 75-spot lot where trees used to be so that kids who are provided a bus can drive instead. Are we all just insane or what?

  • Developing Diversity in the National Parks   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Most of my real job actually is editing; in conversation, we're allowed poetic license to ramble on!

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Wow, Beamis. That's some interesting stuff. I like the part about the Saudi oil field extracted so far is the equivalent of a cube of dinosaurs 19 mi x 19 mi x 19 mi. Totally changed my thinking on the subject.

  • Developing Diversity in the National Parks   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Wow. Someone hire Jim an editor! :)

  • Developing Diversity in the National Parks   6 years 46 weeks ago

    But I don't understand how we are contributing to the situation by not feeling sorry for, and thereby working to enable, a group or multiple groups of people of WHATEVER background to take part in something that many have no interest in becomming a part of in the first place.

    I don't disagree with this necessarily. I don't think any solution to racism can be paternalistic. I have no idea who or who doesn't have interest in visiting parks; and, no we can't simply say, "Hey, come here. Let's be happy and diverse." That's not the point. The point is to make sure that what we are doing now isn't contributing to the reasons why certain groups of people whom reason tells us are the same, behave differently. If the consequences of our discovery point to things fundamentally off about not simply the parks but our environmental assumptions, then so be it. The lack of diversity (everywhere but Yosemite, apparently), the changing trends, are cause for concern that something's not right. It doesn't suggest a solution; it does suggest that we all should be talking about the problem. And, far from taking us from other pressing issues, I think we'll find that they're inter-related.

    Those percentages, when compared to the total sample size available within any given group of people are indeed small, to be sure. But to rest the responsibility solely on the shoulders of racism, while ignoring the cultural make-up and general underlying sub-cultural and individual / personal social intersts in most certainly unfair.

    Obviously, almost nothing can be reduced to a single cause. Classism is an issue in society; sexism; and all kinds of things big and small. Some are inocuous (it was raining; therefore, I didn't go outside today). However, while it's true that causes are complex and many; that doesn't mean that certain things that are wrong are insignificant or should be kept in a narrow perspective just because of it. Many of the reasons why people behave the way they do, however many they are, often amount to the same sorts of things. So often - and we've seen it repeatedly in the comments on this post and the previous discussion on diversity in the parks - culture is used to blur the issue of race. Well, damn...if you change the lens, of course you can find diversity. People wear all kinds of different clothes, have all kinds of different names, have all kinds of different interests in food, in why they visit parks. You might be able to identify different cultural traits from that. But, none of this should distract from the real issue of race in the parks. And, if there is also a "cultural" reason based on a shifting in culture among people of color over the last 40 years that's different from their racial make-up, then that also has a set of causes. Perhaps, it's a result of racism, of ongoing racism. It's evidence of something; when a culture is identifiable in part by race, why is that? These are all things to take seriously. And, if this is seen as something radically different than seeing for instance why elk behave the way they do with and without wolves, why animals behave differently in different ages, or plants grow differently in different environments, to me it's obviously not. We need to own up to the issue of racism, and we should not blur things just because there happen to be other ways of viewing things. While all the blurring may raise other interesting issues; no other cause, no other perspective, can hide the reality.

    Why should any one group be overly concerned that any other such group chooses to or not to become involved in any given activity? We, as Americans, deem something to be worthwhile, for example, our political and personal freedoms. Yet a certain segment of the world views it as devil-worship and would like to kill us all for these practices and beliefs. So if Group A chooses FREELY not to be as actively interested in this pursuit as Group B, why should it raise a great concern to ANYBODY else? Is it because Group B doesn't understand how someone from Group A could choose NOT to follow their lead? Please.........

    It's not a concern in itself; no one is seeking homogeneity in society. It is a concern when the markers that make people distinct and different have a racial element to it. That is a concern because that kind of separateness is irrational. It's not irrational if some people prefer to live in cities while others prefer to go to the mountains; it is a concern if all the people who love cities happen to be people of color. Even the tendency toward that suggests that something else is happening that we need to be aware of and discuss. If cultures are becoming distinct because of racism in our past, because of mistrust in our present, because of processes that continue to contribute to it (the most obvious I see every day is gentrification - a process I know I am in some way a part of), then that's a big concern. I don't mind being separated from you because I don't like you, because I happen to be a jerk, because you like classical music, because I like canyons, but I do mind it if it's because you just happen to belong to a class of people with a certain skin color, because of the values society has held that have brought about that reality. And, it's that value judgment, that irrational hierarchical attitude, that is the crux of the problem. I'd argue that we have that attitude toward land, toward property, toward other beings on the earth, toward our children, and sometimes toward people we say we love. It's a pervasive problem; race should be a simple thing to consider as we own up to all kinds of concerns. Unfortunately, so many aren't willing to take that step - papering it over with positive exceptions to the rule.

    In it's purest form, democracy is indeed, "one person, one vote, majority rule"

    I don't agree with this characterization of democracy. I'd say you don't have democracy without a community; the rule of the "demes" at its crux depends upon everyone. Democracy is that place where individuals find their voice within the space of the deme, the tribal society. Even if some decisions are not made through unanimous consent (for instance, you don't trust medical decisions to the majority or the minority but to a doctor), the ultimate crux of rule in society depends upon consent of everyone to the process that has been decided. That is the ultimate arbiter. The moment that democracy is rule of a group of people, whether they be the majority, the minority, the rich, the eligible, then it is essentially the tyranny of that group, and there is no rational ground for determining who falls inside or outside that line. There's a reason for instance that changing the Constitution requires far more than half the people eligible to make those decisions; unfortunately, most of us have never actually affirmed the government that rules over us. We've merely accepted it as a survival mechanism.

    Modern society is far too large; I agree that democracy is impractical as it stands in our soeciety. It's why I spend my time trying to deconstruct the rationale for our large society so that we can in fact be empowered to have our interests matter within the small groups of people we actually engage on an intimate level. As it stands, though, deconstruction is tricky because I as a rebel (of sorts) am also cognizant that I benefit greatly from my privileges in society. And, my actions need to be cognizant in action. People who have no interest in anarchy, in revolution, matter. Their health matters, their recreational choices matter, their livelihood matters, even if I wish for a much smaller world. It's a bewildering maze that I don't have a great grasp on and certainly no roadmap to revolution. It may be just as revolutionary to feed a homeless person, say hello to a neighbor, or walk through the forest, as it is to make our society smaller. Right now, I think the important thing is to take the project seriously, to hear people, to listen to them, and to see what they're saying. Racism in our society is one of the greatest shared injustices; taking it seriously is a step toward deconstruction (my own project), which at the same time doesn't depend upon anyone else sharing my own point of view, which can help us all be closer. We don't need to create a diversity quota; we don't need paternalistic projects - we do need to keep the problem at the fore of our minds, of our discussions, and to think, "Hey, am I doing something I might be doing differently?" Self-critique, listening, and openness are great models for us all. Of all my criticisms of the National Park Service, I would never criticize them for at least raising this as an issue (even if government is never going to be the answer to any racial problem - but, their doing so in this case, from my own point of view helps deconstruct government and its size; it cannot cope ultimately with the consequences of this discussion and a poignant conversation will require decentralization, will require we see that voices will not be heard until they can be rulers within a community of shared interests.

    I don't think the issue is compromise; the two parties represent the same basic idea. Compromise or stagnation are only distinct the way that mixing one's rat poison with one's drink or just pouring it in are distinct. Either way, you'll die. The problem is much more fundamental. We can't hear each other. Not refusing to hear each other because we conflate race and culture or because we make cultural assumptions of a certain race would be a good start in that process.

    (Hopefully, not too much natural gas for you and perhaps something that helps energize discussion)

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Death Valley Looking to Electronic Rangers to Raise Money, Lure Younger Generations   6 years 46 weeks ago

    When it comes to the National Parks, I believe a strong anti-technology bias is exactly what is called for. The parks are meant to be an escape to nature, not an extension of the rest of our world. Preserve and protect is the mission, not unlimited wireless access and broadband for all.

    The more important bias effecting the parks is the one against properly funding the parks budget and addressing the multi-billion dollar maintenance and upkeep backlog. Under the Bush Administration the number of rangers has been drastically cut and the results really show.

    It's time we stopped building bridges to nowhere and pissing away billions a month in phony military occupations and started taking care of the parks so we can leave them in better, not worse, condition than we found them. And no amount of high tech solutions is going to solve that problem.

    The "anti-tech bias" is simply a straw man argument.

  • Congressman Calls for Investigation Into Fort Hancock Deal   6 years 46 weeks ago

    "Anonymous" states: "is the Gateway NRA actually something that taxpayers in Oregon and North Dakota should be paying their hard earned tax money for?" In the words of the NPCA's 2007 State of the Parks report on the Gateway NRA: "the very name “Gateway” was supposed to inspire its role as a park that was not only the portal to the Big Apple, but also a portal for millions to the National Park System." Should the millions, or tens of millions, of taxpayers in the New York metropolitan area, who are never going to be able to visit the wilderness parks that some elitist backpacking devotees may prefer, have to support THOSE parks with their hard earned tax dollars?

    Having only recently discovered the NPT, I was pleased to discover a dialogue on this issue that was generally well-meaning, but sometimes ill informed. I can walk to Sandy Hook in 10 minutes; have read every filing in the recently decided case in New Jersey's District Court; and find such condescending comments by far-removed observers truly offensive. More people should, like Terese Loeb Kreuzer, visit Fort Hancock, or read its National Register nomination, and educate themselves before taking pot-shots.

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    This is related article from today's headlines which I thought many of you may find very interesting: http://snipurl.com/1rhy9

    As someone with a degree in physical geography I have always tended to believe that oil is primarily abiotic, but, like the Russian scientists cited in the article, have generally been laughed at by the conventional scientists in this hemisphere. It's worth a read.

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    To say that the oil industry controls the entire political system is a bit simplistic and overlooks a variety of other powerful interest groups such as heath care, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, lawyers, and so on.

    I previously stated that "The answer lies not in alternative fuels . . . . The answer lies in less consumption of energy." This is is my opinion, but it's not derived from cynicism (i.e. "jaded"), but from a realistic assessment of the current world situation regarding alternative fuels.

    I've read about hydrogen fuel, and Iceland seems to have a great start, especially since they use geothermal energy in the production of hydrogen fuel. However, hydrogen fuel elsewhere is produced using electricity generated from fossil fuels, so it too provides no real solution.

    "automotive fuels ... get the majority of the blame for the global warning issue".

    While autos may get most of the blame, they don't account for most of CO2. Automobiles account for about 40% of oil consumption in the US, hardly the majority. And transportation accounts for only 28% of total energy consumption. As for global warming, a recent study found that, on a planetary scale, ocean freighters emit more CO2 than automobiles. These freighters bring our clothing, cars, and cheap plastic goods across the vast Pacific and return with our natural resources and used plastic (oil) to be recycled (burned) in Asia.

    Merryland,
    I applaud your efforts and have taken similar steps. I urge you to consider, however, that our energy consumption, even given these efforts, is dramatically higher than of citizens of most other nations. (And this isn't a slam, but I'm guessing the electricity to power your mower comes from coal-burning power plants.)

    Only 14% of our energy consumption comes from non-fossil fuel sources. While it might be possible to increase that percentage (by manufacturing--using fossil fuel energy--nuclear plants and wind turbines), I repeat that a real solution is conservation and reduction of energy consumption, and this can start today in each of our homes.

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    From 1995 to 2001 I was able to walk to work or work at home, which was nice... and for a year there I didn't even have a car. Since 2001 I've worked a four-day work schedule (10 hours each day) which has cut back my potential commuting by 20%. I also moved 5 miles closer to work two years ago (15 mile commute now 10) so that's another 33%. Also recently bought a Toyota Yaris to replace the Ford Exploder so I've doubled my gas mileage. That has been a great feeling to get rid of the SUV. We also moved from a 2500-sqft house in McMansiontown (which had very few sidewalks) to a 1600 sqft house, replaced all the single pane windows in our house with new energy efficient dbl panes, got rid of the old furnace, and switched to an electric mower which not only doesn't need gas or oil, but is much quieter than the old toe-chopper I used to push around. So after all that, I feel I have a right to blame the politicians for not doing enough.

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Jim-

    Nothing personal I assure you. Unfortunately for the locals, the general connotation associated with DC is political, not the tens of thousands of residents who make the area their home.

    Frank-

    If you haven't noticed by now, Big Oil interests control the political situation in this country. Not, as many people think, by control of imports, but instead, and much more subtly, by what is known in the business field as creating your own aftermarket, thereby locking your clientele into your products and the associated (and VERY lucrative) parts and service portion of the business. There is absolutely NO real interest in increasing fuel efficiency in automobiles; such could easily have been accomplished decades ago. Yes, I know overall MPG has increased nominally in recent years, mostly due the lighter materials being used in production, not so much directly related to any marvel of modern engineering directly pertaining to the internal combusion engine. And we are all footing the tab for this "efficiency" and supposed reduced overall fuel consumption with the increased costs in gasoline, diesel, heating oil, asphalt, urethanes, lubricating oils, automobile prices, and all other petroleum drived products, including your precious plastics. Food costs are raised due to the increase in fuel and transportation associated fees incurred with bringing goods to market. It becomes the classic give with one hand and take with the other, but the general public isn't supposed to be able to figure that out.

    I disagree with your jaded view toward alternative fuel sources however. But in one aspect I feel you're quite correct......E85 and biodiesel are not the salvation of the world. But, having said that, for a truly environmentally friendly (or at least tolerable) automotive fuel source, and automotive fuels seem to be all the rage since they get the majority of the blame for the global warning issue, I suggest that you do a bit of reading on the hydrogen-based fuels. There are a good many pros.....high energy output, virtaully NO emissions of ANY kind, light weight, easily adapted to current engine designs and requirements, excellent mileage per unit wieght volume, particularly compared with fossil fuels, an abundance of easily obtainable raw materials, no more environmental issues with drilling, fouled waterways, refinery fires, interruptions in production due to hurricanes, and best of all, no FOREIGN INTERESTS controlling our ability to obtain the stuff! The problem is, switching to this fuel puts Big Oil and the Texas Good Ol' Boys network out of power, so what are the odds that it'll happen? Very good for somebody, but it won't happen in this country, not in our lifetime.

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Beamis has grazed the truth while overstating the case. The US is the world's 3rd highest oil producer. Most of our imported oil comes from Canada, where it is extracted from provinces in the plains. Each country from which we import oil accounts individually for only 5-8% of our oil consumption. So, I don't think this is totally a case of passing the buck to other wildernesses.

    Kath has grazed the truth as well, but passes the buck on to the wealthy and politicians. The truth is we're all to blame. We use oil to travel to national parks, to commute to work. We use oil to grow our crops and to ship them. We use oil to build our buildings, log our forests, extract minerals. We use oil to create plastics. We use oil for virtually everything, and we do so wastefully.

    People will continue to look at energy resources in national parks as long as we continue to consume four times the amount of energy that China does. The answer lies not in alternative fuels (like biofuels, the production of which Jane Goodall recently pointed out are destroying rain forests). The answer lies in less consumption of energy. If we're facing an energy crisis, why haven't speed limits been reduced from 75 MPH (in some states) back down to 55? Why haven't fuel efficiency standards increased dramatically? Why haven't the American people been asked to conserve rather than waste?

    These are the questions that need to be addressed to politicians, but pointing fingers at DC won't help. We need to point fingers at ourselves and realize how wasteful and consumptive are we as individuals. Don't want oil drilling in national parks? Move closer to work so you can walk back and forth. Reduce your consumption of cheap imports (which are made by and of oil and shipped to America using oil). Grow and can as much of your own food as possible in the back yard and stop consuming manufactured food (which is grown, produced and shipped using oil). Speaking of back yards, stop wasting oil to mow your back yard.

    In short, stop blaming politicians and start doing something about the situation in your own life.

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Back in the early 1970's (oil embargo) they had a bumper sticker that read: EAT BEANS AMERICA NEEDS THE GAS! Right now, I think our politicans fart more then most...usually from the mouth...it's called lying with bad breath!

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    I don't want drilling in national parks either but...

    The other politicians who are SHOCKED, SHOCKED at this statement are flying around in private jets then getting into motorcades of SUVs to go to their 40,000 square foot homes then telling American they have an energy crisis and should conserve. (Ala Leona Helmsley, "only the little people conserve").

    And on one side of the aisle in Congress those same politicians want millions more to enter this country illegally to use more water, oil, electricity and open space, more than offsetting whatever American conservationists try to do.

    No politician has clean hands on this issue.

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Please don't reduce our city to the politicians (jokingly or not). We're at they're mercy more than any of you are. (P.S., I hope I can respond to your other post later today).

    Oh, and FYI, there's lead in our water (seriously - it's one of the million issues we who are residents here deal with while everyone else just thinks it's the place where there are politicians).

    From occupied DC,

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    I think this link might explain alot about our elected officials. There's something in the water in Washington...

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070928/ap_on_he_me/killer_amoeba_3

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Why not try drilling in and around the DC area? Sure is plenty of natural gas in the air, and the place is already loaded with greasy palms. If we dig far enough, we might find SOMETHING worthwhile.

  • This Just In : Fort Hancock STILL a Mess   6 years 46 weeks ago

    The decision on keeping Fort Hancock's buildings has already been made for the NPS, the Fort having been placed on the Natonal Register some time ago. While the Sandy Hook Unit of the Gateway NRA covers more than 1,600 acres, Fort Hancock is only a little more than 10% of this, with an active Coast Guard base being about the same, and the Sandy Hook Proving Ground, the other zone of the historic district, being slightly more. This was the nation's first proving ground, abandoned for Aberdeen only when the increasing range of "modern" guns exceeded its limits. The balance consists of wildlife habitat, largely holly forest, with beach along the entire Atlantic side [complete with parking for 6,000 cars, and modern facilities for beach-goers], and some on the Bay side, used primarily by windsurfers. A recently completed bike trail runs the entire 6-mile length of the Hook, and plans for the Fort include a new pier for ferry service, which this summer doubled to over 13,000 riders. It doesn't make sense to talk of getting rid of an integral piece of something that's going to stay a national park, particularly one that will generate some revenue to help sustain the rest.

    The Hook's military history runs from occupation by the British in 1778 to cold war Nike batteries, with WWII gun batteries and radar domes above in the Highlands of the Navesink, where I live, and artillery and mortar batteries along the shore in the Proving Ground zone. Fort Hancock is not a single building such as that of which Kurt Repanshek has spoken, but a complex of more than 100, many completed around the same period in a uniform style. The Lighthouse and Keepers' Quarters have been restored by the Sandy Hook Foundation [who supports the plan, and already operates a museum, "History House," there] under the strict requirements of the Department of the Interior's Guidelines, and the even more stringent ones of the NJ SHPO. The work to be done in the Fort is covered by these same requirements, and we all know that the NPS doesn't have this kind of money.

    The plan provides for a minimum of 30% educational use, to join the American Littoral Society, Brookdale Community College, Clean Ocean Action,
    the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration - Northeast Fisheries Center - Sandy Hook Laboratory, James J Howard Marine Laboratory,
    Marine Academy of Science and Technology, New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium, Rutgers University - Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences,
    Sandy Hook Bird Observatory [NJ Audobon Society], Sandy Hook Child Care Center, and Sandy Hook Foundation, already there. Does the addition of more of the same, with food service, meeting & training facilities, and lodging for them, their guests, and others sound like rampant commercialization? I was born about 5 miles from the Hook, and have lived within hiking distance of it all of my life, with the exception of time at school and in the Army. During that time I was billeted in a building that has the good fortune of being within a National Historic District that is still an active military base, and polished a floor that Custer might have walked on. I've watched with sadness for more than 30 years as Fort Hancock's buildings have slowly decayed. I don't want to see these buildings fall down, although "Save Sandy Hook" does, and has said so. I want to see them restored, and I'd welcome the opportunity to polish the floors of one of them once they are.

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    I agree with Frank, let's wait for the reign of Queen Hillary and her lovable court jester Bubba. In the meantime we should all insist on filling up our tanks exclusively with oil that is extracted from Nigerian and Venezuelan wetlands, Arabian and Mexican coastal waters, the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico and other such "expendable" places. We don't need to besmirch our "sacred" playgrounds and local aquifers in a needless search for oil when we can more easily use these other sources and feel morally superior about it.

    There will be no drilling in our wilderness! Fill 'er up raghead!

  • GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Irrelevant since Clinton is the next president.