Recent comments

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   4 days 17 hours ago

    "Wall Street and the banks in the aggregate have paid back more than 100% of what was loaned and or invested in them."

    As well they should have! The point is what would have happened to some of those banks, big insurance companies, auto companies and others if there had been no bailout to keep them afloat, in the aftermath of poor business decisions designed to maximize profits at the expense of employees.

    Just one example of the impact of bad decisions: AIG cut 20,000 jobs in 2009 as a result in part of "The derivatives unit that brought AIG to the brink of collapse with bets on mortgages."

    I've not suggested that people should be "given" a job if it's not needed by a company. The original discussion was whether employees are valuable resources and should be treated as such in company decisions vs. being regarded as merely "expendable."

    In the case at hand, that view of employees as valuable resources ought to be considered by a concessioner as part of the decision on a contract bid. Is Xanterra "playing chicken" with the NPS in the contract dispute in order to increase their profit margin, or could they in fact not turn a reasonable profit under the NPS proposal? I have no idea, but if they're playing hardball just to push up profits, and employees end up getting pink slips as a result, that would be an example of what some comments on this thread have criticized.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   4 days 19 hours ago

    . It is nearly universally agreed on the causes of the economic collapse,

    Yes, and anyone that has any knowledge of the events knows it was government intervention. Look up the CRA or try reading "The Great Bank Robbery".

    ""job creators" now decry that as having anything to do with them."

    Really? where did anyone do that? More empty accusations.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   4 days 19 hours ago

    JThomas...

    Agreed. It is nearly universally agreed on the causes of the economic collapse, other than those who are have their pound of flesh invested deeply in Wall Street.

    Isn't it amazing how those who made such a bumper sticker talking point out of being "job creators" now decry that as having anything to do with them.

  • Congress Sends Defense Authorization Bill, With National Park Legislation, To President   4 days 19 hours ago

    Well I suppose people will just believe what they want to believe.

    BUT, at the risk of being repetitive:

    Lee Dalton, it is just not true that the national park provisions in this bill were not considered, and transparently. Every one had a congressional hearing. Every one had an NPS study before that, with public input, and NPS testified in favor of each one. Each one has a vital story unrepresented in the national park system, particularly the Tubman bills and the Blackstone bill, and the Valles Caldera has been highly regarded and advocated for years by respected Members of Congress such as Senator Bingamon.

    Acadia On My Mind, this is not the time or the kind of bill to fund a park. Some of these parks even need to go through several more steps to be "established" -- this is what the process was for Shenandoah NP and for the recent Paterson Great Falls NHP. (first, congress passes and gives direction to see if the park is ready to go. Then, the secretary "establishes." THEN the plan goes on for at LEAST 3 YEARS and decides what actually really needs to happen, when.] That is when you make the money decisions, and compare to the value of other priorities elsewhere.

    Why would you want to fund a park before you really know what it will cost, or if all the needed agreements are in place for all sides to play their part? NOW?? !! Get sensible.

    In the meantime, Acadia on my Mind and others, you should know that in the separate "APPROPRIATIONS" bill passed on Sunday by Congress, the entire amount requested (as previously planned) to the Congress by the National Park Service was actually appropriated. ALL the money requested for Fiscal Year 2015. All.

    -- and Hatarasfevr you are also wrong. The Hatteras provisions give no access.

    They provide that the secretary of the interior review the decision.

    The review follows existing law, such as the endangered species law, which was the primary basis of protecting the park from damaging ORV use. Yes, if the secretary finds that if the analysis finds that the too much land has been withdrawn than the science shows is necessary, the secretary is given the authority to redraw the lines. So, if it is true that ORV access is just AOK, or if it shows as the park service and court decisions have said before that these restrictions are necessary, then the secretary has to provide nothing different or make appropriate adjustments.

    This is similar to the review over letting the commercial business lease for oyster development continue in Point Reyes NRA. The secretary then made a re-review, and determined that the lease must go. And that was that and Congress made no further complaints having provided an opportunity for an extraordinary review.

    For the several of you trashed by provisions like the Hatteras one:

    or the land exchanges,

    i would ask you to consider if you and your like-minded colleagues worked hard enough in the last series of congressional elections? As they say, the most committed, wins.

    When the House went republican, people like Rob Bishop and Doc Hastings, dedicated enemies of parks, took the leadership of the committees with jurisdiction of parks. Anybody miss that one? On top of that the blow that the Senate is about to be delivered to some fellow travelers, although probably not as bad as Bishop and Hastings.

    Despite all that, and things like the outcry over people less concerned about protecting parks than running ATV [rather than taking their ATV where there is no park] the committee really did do a good job taking into account the rage, while carefully keeping protection as the basis of the Secretary's decision, keeping out of the bill changes to fundamental legislation like to the Antiquities Act as a whole, and dealt only where they had the votes for a specific demand.

    What do you expect when people who think as you do do not turn out to vote in suffient number, or do not communicate to the others well enough? You should be proud that your side despite the odds did such a good job.

    -- On the funds to buy protect the park from the ownership interest of a concessioner who is trying to run the park, rather than provide services: again, smell the coffee folks, this Congress would not appropriate the money, duh.

    Don't you think that as a precedent the most important thing is not to let such a concessioner get away with it? Don't you think it is damn clever to assess the parks, and fight not to lose? This is not the first time parks have been assessed for the greater good of the whole. When protecting the parks in Alaska was blocked cold in Congress in 1978, hundreds of park people came together, with money from existing accounts, and put together the information the President needed to make the largest national monument and other land withdrawals for preservation IN US HISTORY. Yes, it pinched, and small minded morons of course whined the way they do. But it meant that crucial lands are protected then, and if this law suit is won, now.

    But whining because we need all the parks to work together for a crucial need? That is supposed to be bad? You fight with the tools you have, just like they did in previous generations, just like they did for the Alaska parks 35 years ago.

    In case you all don't know it or don't get out much, we are dealing with people who are trying to destroy parks, commercial interests that want it all their way, or selfish individuals who chose to ignore the damage their access causes. Despite this, we have an Appropriations bill that gives all the money requested, and a park authorizations bill that only passes new parks and additions that the NPS requested.

    In the case of an emergency like the concessioner law suit, you have to act before congressional action even in the best situation, and this (if you've missed this news flash) is not the best situation. Jeepers.

    Pretty damn wonderful. Amazing even, considering the vast sums of money packing the congress with enemies to conservation.

    Finally Lee Dalton, do you really want members of congress to read all the provisions in a defense bill, or a parks bill, or an appropriations bill or a tax bill??

    You know the scale of the issues going on, and how the key thing about an organization is to distribute the work? You must be aware that we have a country of unequaled wealth in world history, that our population today is heading toward twice what it was in World War II, and more than the size of the whole world a few centuries ago. It takes a lot of people doing their job. Of course the National Park Service and the congressional staff read and wrote all these provisions, although too many corporations get to submit provisions, too.

    Then section by section summaries are provided to people like Senator Lisa Murkowski who had as much to do as anybody in putting this bill together and leading the negotiations. And of course several other senators like her, and staffers like hers and the NPS, for the parks provisions, and the same way for the Armed Services provisions. These summaries lay out the alternatives. Each group goes back and forth over the precise language. Then they bring it over, as in this case, to Senator Levin who with several others has been doing the same thing.

    And no, Lee, when the exact negotiations are happening about what exact wording to put into the Hatteras provisions, whether Glacier Bay NP should be included in the deal Murkowski worked out for the Indians in SE Alaska (no, what she wanted for the GB park is not in there, even though anybody watching knows that for years she has been pushing for this, making speeches, submitting legislation etc etc). But no negotiations at that point ever are public. Instead, considering who has the votes because of who you and your fellow citizens have put in Congress, they work out the best deal each is willing to stand up and say they will let this go through.

    You, or anybody, could have done what i did if you wanted more information.

    A few weeks ago I called a congressional staffer, and asked: have you sold out the Antiquities Act yet? No, i was told, but it is a tough fight, but no we have given in nothing on across the board legislation changes to Antiquities, to Wilderness Act, to the Nat Park Organic Act. Have you given in on the terrible 'buffer zone' language the House has been putting IN ALL bills? No, not yet came the answer, but that one is getting harder. [as it turned out, the House did not get their language as they wrote it, but for all the parks a clause said the legislation created no buffer zones and lands could only be acquired with consent of the owner: not what parks people wanted, not what was ON PUBLIC DISPLAY FOR MONTHS in ALL the House bills, but not such a bad provision that it will cripple the ability of the NPS to protect the park.] Anyone with a phone can build relationships with congressional people or park staffers, read the papers, look at the Congressional Hearings on line, read the testimony, go to the public hearings on the proposed park studies, and hear how the park service answers the questions about how much money and when. At least you can if you have a phone, or have the ability to get out of the house.

    Why is this "disgusting" as you say? Would you rather it was like the health care debate, smeared and twisted when FOX TV and Sarah Palin got to say that Obama was throwing "Grandma down the shute" until the point that the lies not the merits drive Senators like Grassley or Baucus under the desk to take cover and do nothing to perfect the bill? Is that really what you think is better, what you want?

    Instead what we got is that all the park matters, including the SE Alaska - Sealask piece and many others were on the table for years. For all the parks or additions, all if it was reviewed in the light of day. Exactly the same people who would have been on a congressional conference committee and their staff then work out what they as elected officials and their staff decide is right for our times. Like the quarter of a million acres of Wilderness in this bill.

    Look at the language in the Hatteras provision, Lee Dalton. Considering all the screaming and wholly distorted discussion from all the self seeking angry people, and considering that the local congressman, many local commercial interests, and a few Democratic Senators like Manchin of WV on the committee as well as the Republicans in the elected House of Representatives were prepared to support a bill that re-wrote park law with a meat ax, don't you really think the provisions we got are pretty brilliant? Really, you don't?

    You think you could have protected this park better in this political climate?

    Pour yourself a cup of coffee. Count the votes. Lean over it for a while. Give it a long long smell.

    The people who worked so hard to save or protect these places, who got a separate Appropriations bill though congress that fully funded the amount request, these people deserve respect. And praise.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   4 days 19 hours ago

    I agree, Rick. There's a nice national narrative of the parks and their relation to the human framed along those lines. A nice piece of American exceptionalism.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   4 days 20 hours ago

    JThomas - your representation of the economic collapse is so eroneous it is laughable. The collapse was caused by government intervention in the markets and the Wall Street and bank "bailout" is pure fiction. Wall Street and the banks in the aggregate have paid back more than 100% of what was loaned and or invested in them.

    And while all you my lament that businesses are in business for the business and not for their employees, I don't see any of you giving jobs to people solely for the purpose of creating a job. Your socialist mindthink doesn't work in the real world.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   4 days 20 hours ago

    It is bad enough that natural resources - like entire mountain tops, in mining - are considered disposable, expendable, consumable, pick your term. The soulless Randian inclusion of human resources in this are not what I want my nation to stand for.

  • Sixty-One Acres Added To Voyageurs National Park Thanks To Voyageurs National Park Association   4 days 21 hours ago

    Wonderful news! Stories of individual parcels of land added to the National Park System are among my favorites. Thank you, National Parks Traveler, for this article.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   4 days 22 hours ago

    Thank you also JThomas. A previous comment stating that "employees are an expendable resource" is truly troubling. Shades of "Let them eat cake". The comment deserves no further discussion at least in my view. It is a tragic situation that the vast majority of dedicated and competent employees for the concessionaire at Grand Canyon are the pawns of this litigation. Shame on both sides.

  • Sixty-One Acres Added To Voyageurs National Park Thanks To Voyageurs National Park Association   4 days 22 hours ago

    Yep, I agree. Completing the purchases of the inholdings in our current National Parks is very important... I'd rather see congress work to make the 59 National Parks that we do have complete, instead of expanding with more historical units. Eventually, the entire country could be declared a "historical unit" or "historical place of cultural significance", but untrammeled nature parks without subdivisions are the true gems..

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   4 days 23 hours ago

    Excellent points, JThomas, and spot on.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   4 days 23 hours ago

    "The purpose of a business or the NPS is not to provide jobs. Providing jobs is necessary to obtain their purpose." There's certainly truth to that, although it would be interesting to hear ec's ideas about the "purpose of a business."

    One key contributor to the nation's recent economic woes was business decisions based soley on improving profits for stockholders and top executives - even if that meant undue risks in financial decisions. The "bailout" of some banks and Wall Street and the housing market crash was the result, and lots of employees and average citizens took their lumps, while some of those top execs got bonuses or "golden parachutes..." There's an example of an "entitlement attitude."

    Another comment above touched on the fact that businesses (and sometimes politicians) use the "number of jobs they will create" as a justification for tax breaks, etc., so those companies at least want the public to believe the "purpose of business is to create jobs."

    In the long run, one would hope that companies that treat employees well will see improved customer service, and therefore an improved bottom line. I certainly tend to give repeat business to places where I am helped by employees who are both pleasant and efficient.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   5 days 13 min ago

    In fact, I submit that it is at its greatest near the top of the economic stratosphere.

    So you have repeatedly claimed without substantiation. Could you provide some examples of where those "near the top of the economic stratosphere" have indicated they are "entitled" to anything beyond the liberties and protections guaranteed by the Constitution.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   5 days 13 min ago

    Trail - I don't know that the NPS has had a "growing dissatisfaction" with Xanterra. I think they are following the appropriate mandate to have competition for the concession business. The problem seems to lie in the structure of the LSI. It would seem to me that those that conceived and approved that structure are most culpable for the current fiasco.

    I beleive the public is best served by competition and would be best served if the LSI formulation were reworked. The public would not be served by having Xantarra or anyother operator make a bad business deal solely to employ folks.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   5 days 37 min ago

    So, what could be the reasoning (really) that NPS's growing dissatisfaction with Xanterra has gotten us to this point? NPS have any culpability? What is the remedy? What's best served for the public?

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   5 days 55 min ago

    Trail - I agree with you 100% that a company is best served by treating its employees well. But it has no obligation, and in fact it is doing itself and its remaining employees a disservice to keep someone employed or pursue unwise business arrangements merely for the sake of giving somebody a job. A business has no more moral obligation to provide a job than do you or I.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   5 days 1 hour ago

    Like I said ec, "You take care of your cows and they will take care of you." Every business has a choice according their own ideas on what level and type of success they desire. Some businesses recognize that one can't give their best (seriously best) for any length of time without reward that supports their effort. If the best isn't really required, yes, move on to the next sap and their customer contact accordingly.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   5 days 1 hour ago

    Personally, i'm all for less mule rides down into the canyon. After an experience where I hiked down the bright angel in a rainstorm and walked back up only to encounter a nasty stream of mule waste running downhill to the colorado river, i'm for limiting the mule traffic. Just for the environmental reasons it was a smart move. There were too many mules on the trail during the last decade. If there is even a 1/4 of the traffic, then that's a good thing. These mule trains don't bury their waste and have created a sewage pit. Backpackers are supposed to bury their droppings, so the mule trains should be required to do a cleanup too.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   5 days 1 hour ago

    Isn't there at least a moral responsibility for any employer to regard employees as more than mere chattel? Is it not true that it is the employees, and not the owner alone, who either makes a business a success or failure? Who is really the one feeling entitled in cases in which owners regard the labor of their employees without value and without the valuing the people who make their success possible? Is it not true that companies with the highest productivity -- and usually, profitabilitiy -- are those with deservedly high employee morale?

    The Great American Entitlement Mentality exists in more than just the lower levels. In fact, I submit that it is at its greatest near the top of the economic stratosphere.

    Unfortunately, the entire syndrome is a concept almost completely lost upon those who cling most tightly to their feelings of entitlement regardless of where they stand on the comparative scale.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   5 days 1 hour ago

    Yes Trail, businesses should respect their employees. However, they shouldn't put that "respect" ahead of what is good for the business (or NPS). If the business suffers while "respecting" its employees but not minding its bottom line it won't be good for anyone.

    For Rick - I would like to hear your "debate" on how you conclude that the purpose of businesses is to provide jobs. From where does that obligation eminate?

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   5 days 1 hour ago

    ec--While the purpose of business is not to provide jobs (a debatable point), it certainly does not restrain them from promising local communities from which they are seeking tax credits or other special treatment for locating new factories or industriess in desirable locations to trumpet the number of new jobs that will be created in the local area.

    Rick

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   5 days 2 hours ago

    No, Ec, not entitlement. The country quote,"You take care of your cows and they will take care of you."

    The look that someone observed and posted on here as to the uncomfortable expressions on some employees while giving service to visitors is the look of not being supported in their efforts to do their job. Use them up, there are legions of internationals or out of work Americans to take their place, for awhile. There are companies out there that recognize that it's good business to respect their employees with that respect being passed on to visitors. I agree that businesses have the choice and their subsequent rewards. Not the entitlement deal with me.

  • Sixty-One Acres Added To Voyageurs National Park Thanks To Voyageurs National Park Association   5 days 2 hours ago

    Very good news.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   5 days 2 hours ago

    increasing tendency in businesses across America to treat employees as expendible resources.

    Because they are. The purpose of a business or the NPS is not to provide jobs. Providing jobs is necessary to obtain their purpose.

    He who repeatedly criticises the "great Amercian entitlement mentality" seems to believe that everyone is "entitled" to their job.

  • National Park Service, In Court Filing, Claims Xanterra Trying To Block Competition In Grand Canyon Concessions Business   5 days 2 hours ago