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2010 February 27 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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What A Total Jerk!

Jim Bunting is a pitiful excuse for a human being. He draws his full salary, but doesn’t bother to show up for votes. When he does show up, it’s just to cause trouble while claiming to be defending “his” conservative principles:

He [Bunting] said lawmakers kept talking about fiscal discipline and the nation was facing a debt crisis. “If we can’t find $10 billion somewhere for a bill that everybody in this body supports,” he said, “we will never pay for anything.”

It’s amazing that Bunting didn’t seemed worried about the debt when he backed the Iraq War, only when it came to ordinary people who need some help.

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February 27, 2010   8 Comments

Iditarod Preview

Iditarod map even yearsNext Saturday is Susan Butcher Day in Alaska, which means the start of the Iditarod.

As this is an even year, the race will use the northern loop from Ophir to Kaltag, and pass through lovely places like Galena [a former Air Force facility that put the COLD in Cold War].

If you had been paying attention there will be some familiar names among the 75 teams including Hans Gatt and the rest of the top six finishers in the Yukon Quest, as well as Sam Deltour of Belgium and Gerry Willomitzer of Whitehorse.

In addition to Sam Deltour the foreign mushers have Newton Marshall of Jamaica [completed the Yukon Quest last year], and Wattie McDonald and John Stewart of Scotland.

There are eight mushers in the Canadian contingent, four from the Yukon, two from Alberta, and one each from British Columbia and Ontario.

The real question is weather. The same pattern that has been sucking cold air into Florida has been pulling mild air into Alaska. I had Arctic Survival in March of 1968 and it didn’t get above -40°, so temperatures above freezing at Nome are definitely not what I would have expected. The Yukon Quest was held a week earlier than in past years and the temperatures were moderate, so people may have to consider changing the dates to even earlier in the winter.

February 27, 2010   13 Comments

Chilean Earthquake

Central Chile was rudely awakened at 3:34AM local time [6:34 AM UTC] by an 8.8 earthquake in the trench [subduction zone] off the coast at Maule.

Since then there have been almost two more than three dozen aftershocks from Valparaiso south to Araucania, including a 6.9 off the coast at Bio-Bio at 5:01AM local [8:01 AM UTC].

Because of the location and strength of the earthquake, a tsunami alert has been issued for the Pacific that extends to Australia.

The BBC reports that the current death toll is 78 122. The relatively low number is a result of the standards put in place following most powerful earthquake in the 20th century, an 9.5 in Chile in 1960. [BBC map of the area affected.]

Update: the death toll is now over 200. In addition to the 70+ aftershocks in Chile, the quake was the probable cause of a 7.0 earthquake near Okinawa on the opposite side of the Pacific plate. The tsunami was only 6 feet [1.8 meters] when it reached Hawaii, and was lost in the bad weather off the US Pacific coast.

February 27, 2010   11 Comments