Monday, December 23, 2013

Four Missing Cyclists Found In California Mountains

According to the Associated Press:

ALTADENA, Calif.—Four mountain bikers missing overnight in the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles have been found safe.
Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Angela Shepherd says the men were found around 8:30 a.m. Monday after spending a night in the chilly Angeles National Forest. She says they were uninjured.
The men began their ride from Mount Wilson to Pasadena on Sunday morning but failed to return in the afternoon as planned.
Sheriff's Sgt. David Shoemaker tells City News Service that the four—cousins between the ages of 28 and 38—had no phone contact and weren't dressed for a night in which temperatures dropped into the 40s.
In the background are the San Gabriel Mountains, in the foreground is Santa Anita Park, a horse-racing venue with an attendance of thousands several days a week. Is it even possible to imagine the suffering of these four, lost in the remote mountains without cell phones while temperatures plummeted into the 40s.  Being cyclists, and non-smokers, these intrepids couldn't have had matches or a lighter to make a little campfire.  We don't know if the cyclists were wearing typical bike clothing or duds more adapted to the frigid conditions in December SoCal but no doubt they were very uncomfortable. There might be an exciting article in Outdoor when these guys get released from medical care.  Or maybe a TV series on A &E.

It turns out that the guys actually did have a fire going according to this L.A. Times story.  They were confused by the various trails in the neighborhood. Kind of like being lost in downtown Milwaukee.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Who Speaks For Poverty?

In the mid-nineteenth century Charles Dickens, who had gone through some hard times as a child due to his father's business reversals, made a good living writing books like "Oliver Twist" and stories like "A Christmas Carol" that endure today as descriptions of the economic injustice of Victorian society.  Other writers have carried on the tradition, Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" wasn't meant to be an exposure of unsanitary conditions in the meat packing industry but was instead an attempt to draw attention to the dangerous and unrewarding life of the immigrant labor force. Sinclair himself was already a successful author and became a candidate for California governor.  B. Traven, the mystery man that penned stories like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, specialized in depicting the life of the underclass. Barbara Ehrenreich, a Phd. in cell biology, worked low-wage jobs to gather material for her 2001 book, Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting Along In America, an expose' of the deplorable life of the working poor.

The point is that the poverty mitigation industry is staffed by fairly affluent people. Those who seem most dedicated to alleviating the purported suffering of the poor could be seen as exploiting their condition. What do the poor themselves have to say?

We're in an age where literally anybody can distribute information to a world-wide audience, just as I'm doing at this moment.  And for free. Almost all public libraries in the US have free computer internet access. Stroll into any library and you'll see computers manned by apparently financially disadvantaged users.  Otherwise they'd be using the fairly reasonably priced home access with what are now cheap PCs. Continue your stroll among these users and glance at their screens.  They're playing games, looking at Facebook, watching movies, etc.  Sign up for a computer yourself and see if you can find a blog written by an actual poor person. I found one, a homeless Arsperger's Syndrome victim in San Diego. On the other hand, there's a mountain of pixelated material authored and refereed by individuals whose occupation is pointing out poverty, its causes and remedies. These individuals are not poor, however. Of course, this phenomenon doesn't just take place in computer world. The mastodon media, too, and the political cesspool, are consumed with passion for the plight of the poor. How about some commentary from the poor themselves.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Optum Pro Cycling Ladies Team Adds Some New Personnel

Press release from Optum Pro Cycling:

 Orange and Black Bolsters 2014 Women's Roster With New Signings, New Directorship December 5th | Minneapolis, MN

 Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies announced the 2014 roster for its women's program, with several new additions to a team with four current reigning national champions. Amber Pierce, formerly of Team Pasta Zara, and Maura Kinsella, formerly of Team NOW and Novartis for MS, round out an 11-woman roster that retains its key elements from 2013. US Road National Champion Jade Wilcoxson, Canadian Road Race and Time Trial Champion Joelle Numainville, Canadian Criterium National Champion Leah Kirchmann, and New Zealand Road Race National Champion Courteney Lowe all return. Also returning for '14 are Denise Ramsden (2012 Canadian Road Race Champion), Lauren Hall, Brianna Walle, Janel Holcomb (2011 NRC Champion), and Annie Ewart. "It's with great pleasure that we welcome Amber and Maura into our program for 2014," said Performance Director Jonas Carney. "Amber has extensive

European experience and will immediately contribute critical veteran leadership on the road, while Maura is an explosive young talent and an excellent fit on a
 Maura Kinsella Leads the Field
team already stocked with star power." The team also brings in all-new leadership for 2014 – Kevin Field, formerly Sports Director at Team SpiderTech, brings a decade of directing experience to the table; it will be the first time Field has directed a women's program. He will be assisted by Pat McCarty, recently retired from the pro circuit from Bissell Pro Cycling. The duo brings invaluable international experience and leadership, and will focus on building the team's significant palmares. "Our new director Kevin Field is an old friend and has lots of experience directing in Europe for Team SpiderTech and Trek-Livestrong," said Carney. "In addition, our new assistant director Pat McCarty is a decorated cyclist in his own right, and brings further insight and knowledge to the team. It is great to have them join our family." Field, a native of Ottawa, Canada, is pleased to once again be directing his home country's top talent on the bike, flanked by some of the US' and New Zealand's fastest women. "It's wonderful coming into a program that isn't in a rebuilding phase, but one that's looking to improve upon its already significant accomplishments. I'm excited and honored to accept management duties for the women's program alongside so many old friends and great colleagues," said Field. "What Joelle and Leah were able to accomplish at the Canadian National Championships this past season was incredible; sweeping the road titles. As a Canadian, I was humbled and proud of their performance. To have them complimented by riders like Jade Wilcoxson, with what she has done in such a short period as a professional, means we will have quite an arsenal in 2014." The lineup represents Performance Director Jonas Carney's emphasis on bringing in well-rounded athletes with a variety of complimentary personalities and skills. "We're not a group of individuals wearing the same colors. We're a team and a family. Before we bring new personnel onboard we make sure that they're not only going to fit in with our system, but improve it," said Carney. "Ultimately we hire people that are proud to represent Optum and our other partners as both bike racers and brand ambassadors." The team aims to retain all five of their national championship titles, earn an invitation to the inaugural Tour of Britain (UCI 2.1), and return to the World Team Time Trial Championships in 2014. They finished 8th in the event in Florence in their first ever TTT event together; they consider a top five in this discipline a major goal for 2014's world championship in Ponferrada, Spain.

A needed reminder on land transfers: Senator tells BLM nominee about unmet promises to state and Native corporations

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Tuesday took an opportunity to highlight the fact that the state of Alaska and many Alaska Native corporations still lack title to the federal lands they were promised decades ago. Much progress has been made in recent years, but it’s important to keep the issue in front of top federal land managers until the job is done. Murkowski, R-Alaska, brought up the topic during a Senate committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on the nomination of Neil Kornze to become the new national director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Kornze, a former top aide to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has led the agency on a temporary basis since March. Alaska became a state 54 years ago and was promised about 105 million acres. Alaska Native corporations were to receive 44 million acres of land under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which Congress passed in 1971 and President Richard Nixon signed — 42 years ago today. Yet title to more than a quarter of these lands has yet to be transferred, Murkowski said Tuesday. The state still lacks title to 37 million acres, while Native corporations are waiting on 11 million acres, she said. Not all of the delay is attributable to the federal government or its bureaucracy. One of the biggest problems has been a lack of money to survey the land before it is transferred. Murkowski and other members of the congressional delegation have helped provide the money, but it is a staggering total. Tens of millions of dollars are spent year after year. The effort is paying off. Title conveyances are now a regular feature in the Federal Register. Typical are two announced during the past week. On Monday, the BLM said it would transfer about 800 acres of surface title to the Paimuit Corp. near the village of the same name on the Bering Sea coast just north of Hooper Bay. Subsurface title goes to the area’s regional corporation, Calista. On Tuesday, BLM announced it would transfer surface title to 45.57 acres on Kodiak Island to the Koniag Corp., the regional Native corporation. Less typical is the announcement last week from the BLM about a transfer completion ceremony at the district office in Fairbanks. BLM’s Ron Dunton, deputy state director for lands and cadastral survey, signed the patent for the last 693.92 acres owed to the village corporation Evansville Inc. Evansville is located near Bettles on the Koyukuk River, 180 miles northwest of Fairbanks. The corporation now has title to the entire 69,149 acres promised by ANCSA. That’s progress. It was good of Sen. Murkowski to remind the new BLM director that it needs to continue.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sean Scully At the US Embassy in London

An example of the work of daft Irish pigment mechanic Sean Scully, who has been selected to construct a sculpture to grace the US embassy in London, UK. This story tells us just a little about the controversy over US federal government profligacy in every way it can be manifested. It doesn't really matter that Sully's work is monumental finger-painting, it's that's simply too expensive.
This might be a model of the proposed sculpture or perhaps the actual item.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chloe Hosking Australian Elite Female Road Cyclist of 2013

                       Embedded image permalink   Hi-Tec Products sprinter and all-around nice lady Chloe Hosking of Canberra has been named the Elite Female Road Cyclist of 2013 by Cycling ACT, a governing body of Australian cycling.