October 5, 2013

I Am Not In The Grand Canyon

I Am Not In The Grand Canyon

Checking the clock this morning I see right about now I was supposed to be passing Ooh-Aah Point in the Grand Canyon on a planned rim-to-rim-to-rim hike with my brother. Instead…well, you know. Every time I read about the shutdown, I find myself thinking it’s junior high all over again, only with trillion-dollar budgets and nuclear missiles. Kudos to Republicans for threatening to blow up the world if they don’t get what they want. What could possibly go wrong with that?

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July 31, 2011

Ezra Klein

Regarding the Debt ceiling crisis, Ezra Klein has been essential reading these past few days. For excellent progressive coverage, I recommend Matt Yglesias. For excellent conservative coverage, I recommend David Frum.

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

November 15, 2008

Renaming North Pal

Renaming North Pal

The Los Angeles Times has an article on efforts to rename North Palisade as “Brower Palisade.” With an elevation of 14,242′, North Pal is California’s fourth-highest mountain and the Sierra’s signature mountaineering objective—Whitney nothwithstanding (more…)

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November 5, 2008

Yes We Can

What an extraordinary moment in our nation’s history. I have never felt so proud to be an American. I am proud that so many Americans chose to exercise their right to vote—many of them first-time voters (and many of those young voters) (more…)

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November 3, 2008

Proposition 8: NO

For the past few days I’ve debating whether or not to make any personal endorsements for the upcoming election. This is, after all, a mountaineering website, and with all the competing campaign messages bombarding us, it’s been nice to keep SierraDescents as a sort of non-political safe haven (illusory or not).

That is, until I happened to browse my site today and found political ads running all across it, including a particularly contemptible ad run by the Prop 8 proponents, courtesy of Google (more…)

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September 25, 2008

We Must Changeā€¦or Perish

It’s been hard to come up with a subject to write about this week. Every backcountry skiing or hiking related topic I’ve thought of just seems a little…off topic. So I will go off topic to stay on, and relay a dream I had last night, in which MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann was moderating a joint emergency House and Senate hearing on the current financial crisis, and the proposed bailout (more…)

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June 23, 2008

Forvik Citizenship – Apply Now!

The Island of Forvik is now accepting applications for citizenship. Qualifications? Apparently all you have to do is pony up one Forvik Gulde (approx. £60 pounds sterling). Never heard of Forvik? It’s a small island off Scotland owned by Stuart Hill, who recently declared independence from the UK. Mr. Hill (who also happens to be Forvik’s only resident) wants the island to be a crown dependency ala the Chanel Islands or the Island of Man (more…)

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January 14, 2008

Politics Alert: Fascism not a Liberal Movement

Tired of getting tongue-tied when the subject of Benito Mussolini comes up? Looking to impress your friends with your knowledge of the roots of Fascism? In the interest of public service, here’s an amusing little history lesson.

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January 3, 2008

$100 Oil and the Stupid Monkeys

The funny thing is, initially this didn’t even strike me as that big of a milestone. I mean, oil has been hovering around the $70-80 per barrel price for so long (relatively speaking), that I’d gotten used to the idea.

But wait a minute—only a few years ago, I believe the OPEC nations were saying that the ideal price would be in the $30 per barrel range, and that they would adjust production as needed to keep the price there.

In case you’re wondering why OPEC would want to keep prices down, the thinking at that time was that higher prices would lead to unwanted consequences, such as conservation, people driving less, buying more efficient vehicles, and turning to other energy sources. So OPEC wanted to keep the price of oil in that sweet spot where they charged as much as possible without damaging consumption—those old ‘maximize the function’ problems that you hated so much in college math class.

So why are oil prices now some three times higher? A big part of the answer has to be growth in the developing world… (more…)

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