Friday, May 26, 2017

Day 127

The Washington Post has a tag line that says "Democracy Dies in Darkness."  This is true.  Without a free press, how do we know what our politicians are doing?  The Pentagon Papers, Watergate, the NSA's scooping up of phone data; all brought to light by a free, hopefully unbiased, press. 

In the past, the FCC limited the number of television stations a company could own.  Under the current administration, these rules are being relaxed. Sinclair Broadcast Group is buying Tribune Media Company.  Currently, Sinclair reaches 38% of the country with its conservative broadcasting.  When the Tribune acquisition completes, they will cover 72% of the country.  Think about this, 72% of local news will be controlled by a right leaning company.  New York Times also did a piece on this, which can be found here.

After Greg Gianforte attacked the liberal reporter, a local Montana station being acquired by Sinclair did not not report on the incident Wednesday night.  KECI did not cover it.  Everyone else covered it, but not them.  After Twitter erupted, and the recordings of the assault were played on the Today show the next day, they finally put it on the air.

KOMO, a station in the very left leaning Seattle area was acquired by Sinclair in 2013.  Current rules say that a single owner may own two stations in an area, provided the two are not rated in the top four.  It appears that Sinclair is going to be allowed to buy KCPQ, which is also a top four rated station in the Seattle market. So now we have two right leaning, Republican boosting stations in a single market.

This is how bad it is.
They are called “must-runs,” and they arrive every day at television stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group — short video segments that are centrally produced by the company. Station managers around the country are directed to work them into the broadcast over a period of 24 or 48 hours.
Since November 2015, Sinclair has ordered its stations to run a daily segment from a “Terrorism Alert Desk” with updates on terrorism-related news around the world. During the election campaign last year, it sent out a package that suggested in part that voters should not support Hillary Clinton because the Democratic Party was historically pro-slavery. More recently, Sinclair asked stations to run a short segment in which Scott Livingston, the company’s vice president for news, accused the national news media of publishing “fake news stories.”
KOMO journalists were surprised in January when, at a morning planning meeting, they received what they considered an unusual request. The station’s news director, who normally avoided overtly political stories, instructed his staff to look into an online ad that seemed to be recruiting paid protesters for President Trump’s inauguration. Right-leaning media organizations had seized on the ad, which was later revealed as a hoax, as proof of coordinated efforts by the left to subvert Mr. Trump.
This is not unbiased reporting, this is fake news and it's going to be everywhere.  I consider Fox to be fake news, you may not, but I do, especially Hannity.  Now, local news is going to be controlled by an unabashedly conservative media group.  What could go wrong?

I find this to be extremely upsetting. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Bogus Basin and Sheep

“Weight lifing” on the steep mountain bike trails at Eagle MTB park was just not working for us this morning.  We decided to drive up to Bogus Basin and do a hike we did in 2014.  On the way up we were over taken by a police car.  We saw them later stopped on the road.  We asked if someone had gone over the side and they said yes. 


This picture does not really do justice to the steepness of side of the hill.  The two police officers were preparing to set off down that hillside into a ravine to go look for a crashed vehicle.  We could not believe they were going to do it without climbing equipment, that’s really fire department work.  Anyway, they told us to move along so we did.  When we went home, no one was there, so there’s no telling what happened.  Hopefully the police didn’t break a leg on that hillside.


We drove all the way to the top, parking at the Pioneer Lodge.


See the trail on the far left side of the photo, sort of in the middle, top to bottom?  That would be the desired trail covered in snow.  There would be no hiking from that parking lot today.  Those two were on their way down, they’d hiked up and skied down something.


We hiked Sapper’s return.  It’s like a cat track.  It was a pleasant walk, not too wet, not too steep.  I think those green plants on the left are skunk cabbage.


We stopped at a trail head to see if anything looked rideable (no).  They had some literature up on the kiosk about the sheep that would be in the area twice a year.  One should not ride through a flock of sheep, one should dismount and walk through them.


The sheep herders travel with Great Pyrenees dogs to guard the sheep.  If the dogs approach, one should put the bike between you and the dog.  One should talk to the dog so it knows you’re human.  It’s interesting to see that sheep still migrate seasonally.


What is missing from the top of this hill?


The Simplot mansion is gone.  It was demolished in 2016.  The Simplots had given the house to Idaho for a governer’s mansion.  Idaho gave it back because they couldn’t afford it.  The Simplots didn’t want to live there, or maintain it, so it was demolished.  They do want to keep the land, and that flag flying.  You can read the article here.


That’s it!  That’s all I have to report from Boise.

Monday, May 22, 2017

More in Boise

Sunday we drove in to look at the capitol.  We figured (correctly) that there would be less traffic on a Sunday morning than during the week.  Here is the dome and the columns out front.


The top of the dome from inside.


On the basement floor there are many informative things to read about the history of the state.  We found this to be amusing.  One wonders how they determined which Indians were to be disenfranchised, and were there that many Mongolians that they needed to be kept out of the voting pool.  In 1890 the LDS gave up plural marriage, and Idaho gave them the vote in 1895.


Isn’t that a beautiful thing?  I love old stuff that still works.


Boise has commisioned public art on their utility boxes.  The painting does add a touch of cheer to the sidewalks.


After the capitol we walked down to the Basque Block.  The Basques are an interesting people.  Their language is completely distinct from all other languages.  Many of them migrated to this part of the country and worked herding sheep and cattle.  Boarding houses were built for the men to live in during the winter.  This is one of the two surviving buildings.  The block “preserves the Basque heritage” with a number of restaurants and a museum.  You can read more here.


This was a surprising marquee.


We drove out the other side of Boise in search of dry sections of the greenway.  There is a really cool stretch of amazing homes in south east Boise.


This one is for sale.


Still wet!  There is a work around to this section of water, other than riding through it.  This is pretty far from the RV park, so it’s doubtful we would drive out this far to get on the other side of the water.


Today we rode up to the Eagle Bike Park.  As is so often the case, our conception of what constitutes a green trail is different from the person’s who colored the maps.  Trails are very hard packed dirt, with some sand.  There are ruts from water run off.  In most places the single track is wide enough.  There was one hillside traverse I declined because it was too narrow and too side hill.  The trails are steep.  There was a fair amount of hike a bike.  The initial pitch up was about 18%.  We decided to look at this less as peaceful riding through scenic vistas and more like weight lifting.

The first time we came down the hillside, Jim decided to ride a “green” downhill course.  Hah!  Double HAH HAH HAH!  He had to dismount three times because it was so steep.  At one point he could feel his back wheel coming up, so stepping off seemed prudent.  He also flushed some sort of large bird from the bushes.  I went down the 18% section (with jumpy things) and that was sufficiently thrilling.

See the jump mid photo?  We ended up approaching that from the bottom on a different trail and riding down under the jump.  It’s the Stormin' Mormon trail.  The bottom half is fun, it’s bermed, and the jumps are not extreme.


Looking up from the parking lot – key word is up.  Given the topography of the land, and where the open space is, it’s all going to be up.


The new Dish receiver was supposed to be here Friday, today at the latest.  I called last Tuesday to verify it was in transit and was told that it was.  So I called today to inquire since it did not arrive.  IT NEVER SHIPPED.  The technical support person just did not order it.  The person who verified it was on the way Tuesday flat out lied to me. When talking to them today, a little bit of anger leaked out of my voice, maybe just a touch.  We don’t have that many more days here, and the people who do installs are really busy. We may end up having to take it with us to Oregon and getting it installed there.  We have an over complicated system that has a/b boxes and wires going everywhere and I do not want to touch anything in the cabinet.

My ear is better.  When I push up from the underside, I don’t hear fluid moving around.  The pops and crackles have stopped, as have the momentary periods of being deaf.  So, perhaps there is progress.  I am back to showering with the ear plug AND the plastic cup over my ear, trying to keep it dry.

So, that’s it from Boise.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

In Boise

The drive from Brigham City to Boise is pretty in places.  It’s all freeway.  It’s a long drive, but there’s no drama.


There’s one little climb, which got us high enough to see snow and fog.


Eventually, you come back down into mass agriculture.


It’s good that we came to Boise.  It’s a larger city with better medical people.  The two treatments of Gentian Violet did exactly nothing for the fungus. I was able to see a physician’s assistant in an ENT office who spent time suctioning out my ear and then dusting it with steroid/anti-fungal/drying agent powder.  That was yesterday.  It’s better today, but it’s still wet in there.  I’m supposed to go back again next Friday, but I may go sooner.  This really needs to be resolved before it makes its way into the middle ear.

One of the reasons we came to Boise was to ride the Boise Greenway.  It’s under water!  There is so much run off from the mountains that they’re having to release a lot of water.  This is a low point in the trail.


The river is running really fast. 



This is the entry to an RV park along side the river.  The park is dry, but there’s a lot of standing water.



We are liking Boise so far – but it’s early days.  Today we rode on the road, it’s hilly here!  I think we did more climbing today than we did all winter in Tucson.  There are bike lanes on many roads.  Although Jim was almost taken out by a teen-aged driver on the way back.  Monday we are going to check out a mountain bike park just up the road from here.  There are a lot of trails that are signed as green (easy) so maybe we can ride there.