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2010 March 05 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Big Surprise?

I don’t think so. As predictable as buzzards returning to Hinckley, Ohio, the
Florida House speaker promises no new taxes. He also promised no fee increases. This must mean they have found a new things to call fees.

They used the stimulus money that all good Florida Republican Congresscritters voted against to plug some of the gaping holes in this year’s budget, and that money is gone, so the new budget will be even deeper in the red.

The state depends on the sales tax and property taxes to fund government. They have cut the property tax at the same time the assessed valuation of property is in the tank, and sales tax revenue has fallen over the cliff. There is a real possibility that the population of the state has fallen for the first time anyone can remember, so the census will probably reduce Federal payments.

The state lost millions in its money market fund when Lehman Brothers crashed and burned, and they have been raiding other funds to cover the shortfalls cause by their ill-advised tax policies. All of their fiscal incompetence is going to be on display in this budget and the “free market fairy” is not going to wave a wand and make it better.

March 5, 2010   7 Comments

It Starts Tomorrow

Iditarod map even yearsOK, so tomorrow is really a parade of the mushers from Anchorage to Campbell Airstrip, and the real racing starts on Sunday from Willow.

There has been a noticeable lack of substantial snowfall on the southern half of the course, which will make for some rough riding and problems steering. So far things have gotten a little colder than last week, but heat will still be a concern when the dogs would prefer temperatures below 20°F [-7°C].

Teams leave Willow at two minute intervals, with the time difference adjusted at the 24-hour stop, i.e. the team that left Willow last can leave after 24 hours, but the team that left first will have over 2 hours added to their stop.

In addition to the 24-hour stop, the teams must make an 8-hour stop on the Yukon, and everyone has an 8-hour stop at White Mountain. The stops have to be at checkpoints, and they can’t be combined.

The trail around Rainy Pass through the Alaska Range is probably the hardest on sleds and mushers, as the climb and descent involve a lot of switch-backs and mountain hugging. With a snow deficit, it will be nastier than normal.

If the wind kicks up around the Norton Sound, blizzard conditions and wind chills below -40°[same in F & C] are quite common.

The Mushers in bold are former winners of the Iditarod, the numbers in parentheses are their Bib numbers, and the small “R” indicates a rookie.

The Iditarod posts will be updated during the day, and the map changed on all posts to reflect the current situation.

All posts on the Iditarod can be seen by selecting “Iditarod” from the Category box on the right sidebar.

Below the fold is the starting grid:

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March 5, 2010   2 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

A Tourist

Friday Cat Blogging


[Editor: This fluffy orange tabby tom showed up for a nosh. He’s been here a couple of days. The feral females won’t let another female hang around, but the toms don’t care as long as new toms don’t get in a dominance battle.]

Friday Ark

March 5, 2010   6 Comments