30 June 2008
Klondike Mines Railway on the Homestake Gulch trestle.
We had our big Fireweed Festival weekend Saturday. It was down a full third from the previous year, probably largely due to the increased cost of travel. I featured the Ramblers Band and provided a free salmon bake with potato salad and baked beans. Even with the diminished participation, the bar was full. Just as last year, I had set up an outdoor stage for the band. We had to move the band indoors by 9pm due to the unusually cold weather, even though it was mid-summer and clear outside. Even though the overall take was somewhat disappointing, the decrease in business from last year was not unexpected.
24 June 2008
Yet some wars need to be waged, and someone needs to lead. The citizenry and Congress are often ambivalent or largely opposed to any given war. It's up to our leader to convince them. That's why we call the leader "Commander in Chief."
George W.'s war was no different. There was lots of resistance to it. Many in Congress were vehemently against the idea. The Commander in Chief had to lobby for legislative approval.
Along with supporters, George W. used the force of his convictions, the power of his title and every ounce of moral suasion he could muster to rally support. He had to assure Congress and the public that the war was morally justified, winnable and affordable. Congress eventually came around and voted overwhelmingly to wage war.
George W. then lobbied foreign governments for support. But in the end, only one European nation helped us. The rest of the world sat on its hands and watched.
After a few quick victories, things started to go bad. There were many dark days when all the news was discouraging. Casualties began to mount. It became obvious that our forces were too small. Congress began to drag its feet about funding the effort.
Many who had voted to support the war just a few years earlier were beginning to speak against it and accuse the Commander in Chief of misleading them. Many critics began to call him incompetent, an idiot and even a liar. Journalists joined the negative chorus with a vengeance.
As the war entered its fourth year, the public began to grow weary of the conflict and the casualties. George W.'s popularity plummeted. Yet through it all, he stood firm, supporting the troops and endorsing the struggle.
Without his unwavering support, the war would have surely ended, then and there, in overwhelming and total defeat.
At this darkest of times, he began to make some changes. More troops were added and trained. Some advisers were shuffled, and new generals installed.
Then, unexpectedly and gradually, things began to improve. Now it was the enemy that appeared to be growing weary of the lengthy conflict and losing support. Victories began to come, and hope returned.
Many critics in Congress and the press said the improvements were just George W.'s good luck. The progress, they said, would be temporary. He knew, however, that in warfare good fortune counts.
Then, in the unlikeliest of circumstances and perhaps the most historic example of military luck, the enemy blundered and was resoundingly defeated. After six long years of war, the Commander in Chief basked in a most hard-fought victory.
So on that historic day, Oct. 19, 1781, in a place called Yorktown, a satisfied George Washington sat upon his beautiful white horse and accepted the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, effectively ending the Revolutionary War.
from Maggie's Farm
22 June 2008
This one, like the Kennecott mines thread, is a very large file with many posts. It will take some time to include all of it on this site. I will be adding new segments as time permits. Please feel free to check back from time to time for new additions.
16 June 2008
The newer Phase II line has no remote-activated switches. It has two sidings inside the bar above the backbar that serve as parking areas. The trains parked there simply exit out through a couple of manually-operated switches whereas the Phase I line runs above the bar through a series of switches that MUST work remotely.
The cars I am presently using on the original track make up a beer-liquor consist that I set up for bar display last year. These include two Aristocraft Jack Daniels passenger cars, an LGB JD car, a Harley car, two different Alaska brewing cars and a Budweiser reefer, plus my Budweiser caboose.
The LGB engines at the head of the consist have always performed very well, as was the case with this initial run.
click any photo for a larger view.
15 June 2008
George Orwell once wrote that politics was closely related to social identity. 'One sometimes gets the impression,' he wrote in The Road To Wigan Pier, 'that the mere words socialism and communism draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, nature-cure quack, pacifist and feminist in England'.
Orwell was making an observation. But today a whole body of academic research shows he was correct: your politics influence the manner in which you live your life. And the news is not so good for those on the political Left.
There is plenty of data that shows that Right-wingers are happier, more generous to charities, less likely to commit suicide - and even hug their children more than those on the Left.
In my experience, they are also more honest, friendly and well-adjusted.
Much of this springs from the destructive influence of modern liberal ideas.
In the Sixties, we saw the beginning of a narcissism and self-absorption that gripped the Left and has not let go.
The full-scale embrace of the importance of self-awareness, self-discovery and being 'true' to oneself, along with the idea that the State should care for the less fortunate, has created a swathe of Left-wing people who want to outsource their obligations to others.
The statistics I base this on come from the General Social Survey, America's premier social research database, but they are just as relevant to the UK, as I believe political belief systems drive one's attitudes, regardless of where you happen to live.
Those surveyed were asked: 'Is it your obligation to care for a seriously injured/ill spouse or parent, or should you give care only if you really want to?' Of those describing themselves as 'conservative', 71 per cent said it was. Only 46 per cent of those on the Left agreed.
To the question: 'Do you get happiness by putting someone else's happiness ahead of your own?', 55 per cent of those who said they were 'very conservative' said Yes, compared with 20 per cent of those who were 'very liberal'. ...
Many on the Left proudly proclaim themselves 'child-free'. While some do not want children on ecological grounds, much has to do with the fact that they simply don't want the responsibility of having a child.
When asked by the World Values Survey whether parents should sacrifice their own well-being for those of their children, those on the Left were nearly twice as likely to say No. ...
Most surprising of all is reputable research showing those on the Left are more interested in money than Right-wingers.
Both the World Values Survey and the General Social Survey reveal Left-wingers are more likely to rate 'high income' as an important factor in choosing a job, more likely to say 'after good health, money is the most important thing', and agree with the statement 'there are no right or wrong ways to make money' ...
As John Maynard Keynes reminds us: 'The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and wrong, are more powerful than commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.' Or, as the American theorist Richard Weaver once declared: 'Ideas have consequences.'
And it seems that today modern progressive ideas can often bring out the worst in people.
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Conservatives Are Nicer
13 June 2008
12 June 2008
Somewhere in the states is my Milwaukee Road FA-FB-FA unit waiting to be converted to remote battery control for this unit. At that time I might add more coaches. Maybe.
The south track line: The Santa Fe line is also parked at NX-Cicely (Cicely for short).
This consist has not yet been tested on the long return grade to the east. It remains to be seen of an Aristo model diesel can outperform a USA diesel. I had to park it due to the change in the weather so here it sits for now.
Here we have a good view of Cicely as we look west. All three parallel passenger consists can be seen in this photo. As with most of my others, you may click this picture to obtain a much-larger one.
Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.
You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don't control monetary policy, The Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices - 545 human beings out of the 300 million - are directly, legally, morally and individually responsib le for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress.
In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority.
They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing.
I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall.
No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.
The president can only propose a budget.
He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.
Who is the speaker of the House?
She is the leader of the majority party.
She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want.
If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts - of incompetence and irresponsibility.
I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.
When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.
Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like 'the economy,' 'inflation' or 'politics' that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses - provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
I am located in Copper Center, Alaska:
where I operate a small tavern and overnight accommodations. (Click on the map for a larger view).
I have lived in this area off and on since 1976. I purchased the old Copper Center Bar in 1996 and renamed it the Copper Rail Depot--a historic model railroad-theme bar.
I now operate North America's farthest north outdoor large-scale (~1:24) model railroad. That scale is referred to as "G" (as opposed to HO or N or Z or O (Lionel).
It is also among the largest privately-owned model railroads you will find anywhere.
I have two separate model railroad systems in G-scale. The original is the historically-based Copper River & Northwestern Railway-Chitina Local Branch. My model extends from the historic town of Chitina to Kennecott. The Kennecott model is in a separate 36-foot long building. The Chitina model is overhead in the bar. Also outside is a model of part of historic downtown McCarthy. This model is approximately 450 feet of track and was completed in 2003.
The newer model, sometimes referred to as "Phase II" is brand new. I am in the process of completing it, but it is already operational. This is a modern line, with elements of the Great Northern, Santa Fe, Milwaukee Road and Alaska Railroad contained within it. The model centers on the mythical town of Cicely. Cicely appears in the old television series Northern Exposure, which is in syndication. This model is particularly impressive, consisting of approximately 700 feet of railroad line.
If you want to see the most impressive model railroad in Alaska, you need to come to Copper Center.