Posts Tagged With: jobs


A crucial alarm was brought to our attention yesterday.

United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said:   “Climate change caused by burning fossil fuels has accelerated to the point that the only chance of keeping the world’s temperature below a dangerous level may be to end all greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this century The report issued in Copenhagen said climate change already is affecting life on every continent and in rising oceans.

“Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in their message. Leaders must act. Time is not on our side,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

“The scientific community across the world is sounding the alarm. Climate change is real and it will have devastating consequences around the globe unless we act boldly and decisively,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, a member of the Senate environment and energy committees.

Sanders has proposed a fee on carbon and methane emissions. The measure is cosponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Their bill would help create millions of jobs transforming the U.S. energy system away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. Another Sanders bill would end tax breaks and subsidies for oil and coal companies. A companion measure in the House is sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison.

Both ideas are backed by scientists and leading economists but blocked by Republicans in Congress. “Many Republicans now respond to the crisis of climate change by saying they are not scientists and therefore have no opinion,” Sanders said. “Well, most of them are not doctors but they respect doctors’ opinions on cancer and heart disease. Most of them are not generals but they respect the opinions of our military leaders. It’s time for them to respect the views of the scientific community on climate change.”

It is time to bug your representatives to DO SOMETHING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, no matter what party you belong to.  Let us try to save what we have before we see devastation as it is portrayed in science fiction movies like blade runner.

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Our travel goal yesterday was to avoid the boom-town of Williston and seek out the little town of Baineville, just on the border of N.D. and Montana. Jim found a website for Buffalo Trails Museum at Epping, which was closed, but we decided to have a look at the area anyway. It was about 10 miles out of our way. The turn-off required us to cross two lanes, a meridian and another two lanes of oncoming traffic and whoops!  The road is gravel? Oh, well, we’re committed. We bumped miserably along popping rivets and screws and bolts, we are sure,  for about ten miles.

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we pulled into town and parked next to this ramshackle old building.

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There wasn’t a car or a person anywhere in sight. With a one block main street we just walked along taking pictures of this “ghost” town and peeked in the windows.

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After a few minutes of poking around, Heather appeared out of nowhere and began watering plants in front of the school.

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She took us to the Museum office and introduced us to Shelly. These two women are the only two people who have keys to the buildings we were looking into and even though the museum was closed, they opened up  the buildings and allowed us to tour the complex.

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In the front part of the office was a dental exhibit, all items here have been donated by locals. I don’t know the population of the town in 1905 when Epping was founded adjacent to the Northern Pacific Railroad, but in 2010 the population was 100 people according to the census. DSC09676 (Copy)

In every building, the human figures were made out of papier mache  by a guy named Elmer. DSC09667 (Copy)

Behind the office was some rolling stock. Kind of reminded me of  a Bonnie and Clyde affair.

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My quest for something I’ve never seen before was soon answered. This little wooden horse-drawn wagon is a school bus.

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Elmer did a lot of work here. A life sized diorama of his family, with Elmer in bed getting medicine from the doctor, his little brother crying.

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This gentleman reading the paper in an exhibit looks just like pictures of Elmer.  In fact, almost all of the gentlemen in the exhibits look like Elmer.

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Elmer put together several very authentic box dioramas in which he went to the hill where this Indian village was located, he studied the topography, even picked the grass from the site to make this scene.  He must have been an interesting character.

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One building has a unique cement floor.

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The one room school house classroom is in beautiful condition.

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North Dakota winters require a mighty stove and this one is a beauty.

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You’ll notice in this kitchen exhibit the wall paper is made from newspaper, not uncommon in the early 1900’s.

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Another item I’d never seen, a painted story hide.

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And from the General Store, a marshmallow beater. I can’t quite fathom how I’ve managed my life without one.

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The cafe building is historic as is the tavern. Both are open businesses. The tavern was closed but the cafe was open. We didn’t see any activity around the cafe for the hour we wandered the street until lunchtime. Then out of nowhere a few trucks and cars pulled up for the daily special, a cheeseburger and tomato soup. DSC09757 (Copy)

We practically sat under this buffalo head for our lunch. But, I’m digressing. This is a ghost story.

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This exhibit is one the ghost likes to fool with. There is a big space between the two shelving units in this building. Heather and Shelly never enter this room alone because it gives them the willies and they have the only keys. The board was replaced, by a carpenter, screwed in, and, when they returned, it went missing. After three tries, they gave up.

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A glass stopper collection was removed for dusting. The girls placed them on top of the case in rows. When they returned, they were disheveled and moved around. Twice. Lights that have been turned out, go on. They think they know who the ghost is.

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The man who owned this hardware store hung himself in the open window above so everyone returning from church could see him hanging there. They replaced the window. And the next day it was broken out. They replaced it again. The same thing happened. Now, they just leave it open.

We left Epping glad we braved the bad road and got direction from the girls to a short gravel road to a paved highway that took us right into Williston. We breezed on through.DSC09784 (Copy)

Everywhere, we see mobile homes in clusters, temporary housing for oil workers. Billboards advertise for house builders needed, jobs, jobs, jobs. It is a boom phenomena. People rent out space in their yards to two or three mobiles.

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Road workers needed.

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Every half mile or so, we see another well going in.

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Bainville was another gravel road town without even a mom and pop store or gas pump. A post office and a church with a few houses. We pushed on 14 miles west to Culbertson, Montana and spent the night in a delightful city park.


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I wonder why trickle down economics never worked, but today, trickle up poverty is sweeping the country?

If 1 % of the people own wealth equal to 90 % of the rest of us, why do they need more wealth before they will create more jobs?

What industry gets 7,610 dollars a minute in tax breaks (that’s four billion of OUR tax dollars ) while making 35.5 billion more profit  in this quarter than last quarter?    (Hint: A three-letter word beginning with O and ending with L.)

Who was the first President to borrow from Social Security?  ( Hint:  He also started that trickle down theory and was once a movie star.)

Who said “I vote for the rich guys, they are the only ones that can pay me?”    My cousin Rose said that.   (I guess I have that  backwards. I always thought a business couldn’t run if people didn’t show up to work everyday)

What is the most expensive cost to taxpayers?   (President Eisenhower warned us against it)    (Hint:  Its not housing, education, health care, or welfare.  The next time you are asked to donate, ask your candidate of choice about the cost of the military/industrial complex.)

The Federal Communications Commission has the power to provide a free elections channel or two or even three, just like most industrialized nations.  Why don’t they?  Wouldn’t it save money?  (Duh!)

Why is it the  rich are incentivized by tax cuts, while the poor are incentivized by lower wages, no benefits, no health insurance and  minimum wage?

Shouldn’t all corporations have to pay SOME taxes?

Isn’t money the same as speech?

Corporations are the same as a person, aren’t they?  (My friend Domenic said he’d  believe it when they execute one.)

In a democracy, anyone in America (with enough money)  can run for public office, right?

I’m sure I got that last one right. But, in general,  I failed economics. Jim says I should get back on the road so I don’t get riled up about these matters.

Or maybe I should go into a business like this?  But how would I get the politicians into the truck?



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This Christmas, the  three gifts I bought for my grandkids I would have bought no matter where they were made. One was from Japan, the others were from Taiwan. From the giving tree, you choose a name and buy a gift for a  child in need,  which was a request for a robe, I absolutely could not find a robe in any store that wasn’t made in China.

Just before Christmas, I wanted to buy a picture frame. Small town shopping choices  are limited.  After realizing that every frame in every store came from China,  I went to a custom shop and had it made. Certainly not a choice for people on a limited budget.

At the grocery store, I bought an off brand of pumpkin for pies and much to my irritation, it too, came from China.  I’ve received emails about buying in America and then I received this one from my cousin Karen.  This job producing video was a real eye-opener.

Imports and trade are not all bad for our country.  I’m picking on China for a reason. My neighbor, Jan, had two teachers from China staying with her for a short time on an exchange program earlier this year. They bought a camera made in China. When she questioned their choice  they told her it was cheaper to buy it here than in their own country. I’ve read where China is manipulating money,  doctoring dog food, selling knock-offs illegally, pirating music and other shoddy business practices.  So, visit the Made In America Website after watching this video and see how much power our purchases have.

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Yesterday, my congressional candidate brother, Will, visited  Cousin Gary visiting from Southern, CA. Gary had never been to an Occupy Wall Street protest because, as he put it, “I’m not interested in closing ports and businesses where people have jobs. And, I don’t want to lay down in the street.”

He also confessed to not quite understanding what the point is. While vitriolic radio show hosts criticize and condemn the movement as pointless and leaderless, I notice that all National news organizations are covering this movement- because  it has legs.  As one local protester, Rick Mines put it, “Protesting the concentration of wealth and power held by less than 1 percent of the population is an effort to  save capitalism.  Capitalism has to be fair,”  (And I would add regulated.)

You can’t compete when some guy is putting $100 million down to put a  Supreme Court Justice in place, or when 80% of congress regards their major job in governing is to get rich by way of  hand-outs, insider trading, and million dollar jobs when they leave. I take heart because the long term apathy among the general population is finally over. You couldn’t get people to take to the streets. That has changed all over the world as well as  in our highly conservative mountain counties, Tuolumne, Calaveras and Amador.

It was a small band on a cold December evening during the busy Christmas season. Two young students were there. The only other woman said to me, “In our county we are all part of the 99%. We don’t have any concentration of wealthy here. But, it is still important to let people know, its time to take a stand and we desperately need change and jobs and a robust middle class.”

This sign speaks to an issue that may be more important than the government laws that tilt toward the wealthy.  It is a slippery slope to a fascist state when we weaken our first amendment rights.  There are many good things in the NDAA, like protections for whistleblowers. But, we are not to know if sub-par maintenance of our airplanes is a factor in crash. We cannot know who contributed what to the congressional committee people overseeing the granting of government contracts. On any contract,  any savings realized cannot be directed to the National Debt once the money has been set aside and is not used for that project. No clue to where that money WILL go. Suspected terrorists will not have the same rights of trial, detention, and ability to defend themselves as we do now. There are good things in the act, but  many slippery areas. The idea to audit the Defense Department Budget was soundly rejected. Hmmm. It’s on-line. Read it.

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At one time, gigantic logging trucks like this one rumbled right through downtown Murphys. Officially rerouted in the 1990’s,  they can no longer do that. They roll down the mountain and keep to Highway 4 on their way to the mill. Loggers can still plow right through  downtown  Angels Camp on Highway 49.  I must admit to a bit of joy at seeing them. In the 80’s I rode with a logger to the woods and photographed  the complete operation from cutting, skidding,  loading, chaining up and delivering them to the mill. In fact, the driver pulled over to tighten his chains once we left  the rugged logging road and I got out  to take the big behemoth’s picture.  A guy backing out of his driveway, without looking, backed into me with his pick-up. I was unhurt, thankfully.  I wish I had those pictures in digital format.

Today’s logs, compared to logging in the seventies and eighties look like toothpicks. I’ve seen two or three or four logs fill one of these trucks. A tree trunk riding high half above the cab made you fear a slipping chain would allow a log to  smash through the cab and kill anybody inside.  The weight of the load was especially noticeable on Murphys Grade from Forest Meadows to Murphys with the driver managing the winding road, his jake brake scudding.  The memories, the sights and smells are great and I’m glad for the truck owners and loggers who have work again. Standard recently opened their mill in Sonora and I followed three trucks down to the river, and across the other side over Parrots Ferry Bridge on my way to the dentist. I returned by way of Stevenot Bridge on 49 through Angels Camp. I counted, coming toward me, four logging trucks which means a full truck was moving through town every five minutes on both highways.  As I did some errands,  I saw two more pass. Sure enough, I waited and caught this one moving through town.  While the jobs are great, they are most likely clear cutting for Sierra Pacific. SP refuses to compromise and do select cuts. They clear huge swaths of land and destroy the beauty and ecology of our area in the Sierra Nevadas. SP owns over a million acres above us, and young trees are falling to the axe.  A local group, Forest Watch, has photographed and protested their business practices, but the best way to make them accountable to the local community is to refuse to buy Sierra Pacific Lumber. I recommend you  buy certified lumber that is sustainably cut. It is stamped on the end of each board. It is possible to log without desecrating the land and habitat, but the bottom line for corporations  is people, nature, and animals last and money first. When I saw that logging had resumed, I speculated on the recent appearance of bear and feral pigs at our elevation and wonder if clear cutting could be upsetting the balance?


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