Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Moab - Corona Arch and Thoughts About Current Events

It was chilly and overcast this morning.  We could not tell what the weather was going to do.  When we loaded the truck before heading out we took clothing for three seasons.  Today's hike was to the Corona Arch.  We loved it.  It's only a mile and a half to the arch, but it's just beautiful out there.
There is a ladder!  Today we were able to go up and down it with little trepidation.  One technique we witnessed when descending was to step on the top rung with your back to the ladder and then pivot to face it.  That had been my plan, but I ended up going all the way down like that.

This is the Bowtie Arch which is near the Corona Arch.  Notice the complete lack of color in the sky.

The Corona Arch - it's really big.

See the sort of horizontal line across the bottom third of the photo?  That's the cut that was made for the rail like that goes out to the potash plant.  We also think the UMTRA project is using it to haul away the radioactive mine tailings.

The Bowtie Arch with a little more sun.

In addition to the ladder, there are divots in the rock for your feet to get up the steep section.  BLM has very kindly added a cable for you to hang on to.

Apparently the cairn fairly has been hard at work, stacking rocks.

As we were heading back, the clouds moved out and it became a glorious day.

See the horizontal line sort of mid way in the photo?  That's a good sized fill that was done for the rail line.  The people who built railroads were not deterred by unfavorable terrain and grades.

The cut for the line.  That required a lot of dynamite.

On the way back down the hill we stopped and watched the UMTRA site.  It runs like a well choreographed machine.  Empty containers are brought down the hill and put in the yard.  The mobile crane puts them on a truck, which you can see mid photo.

The truck drives under the burgundy building.  It's hard to see because it's in shadow, but there is a crane that removes the top of the container and puts it to one side.

The empty truck heads out for a load of contaminated dirt.

 On the way back, the yellow crane puts the lid back on the container.  He's on the right hand side.

Then it goes up the hill and becomes part of the train that takes the dirt away.  They ship Mondays and Wednesdays.

Perhaps if there had been an Environmental Protection Agency when the uranium mines were operating, some thought would have been given to the utter badness of dumping tailings right next to the Colorado river.  People complain about the cost of regulations, but the cost of later clean up is also high.

Today's news was just a trifecta of badness.  The Freedom Caucus has worked with the White House to develop a replacement for the ACA.    Washington Post did an article detailing it.  One of those "essential health benefits" that states can opt out of providing is emergency care.  
Democrats assailed the latest proposal, saying it did nothing to help the 24 million people who, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, would lose coverage by 2026 under the repeal bill.
They denounced one part of the new proposal that, they said, would protect health insurance for members of Congress. This provision, they said, guarantees that lawmakers would not lose “essential health benefits” and could not be charged higher premiums because of their health status. The group that helps elect House Democrats immediately unleashed internet ads in 30 Republican-held districts railing against the carve out. A Democratic interest group, Priorities USA, followed suit.

“The monstrous immorality of Trumpcare is perfectly encapsulated in House Republicans’ plan to exempt their own health coverage from the damage it will do to everyone else,” said the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi of California.
So, the Congress people are declaring themselves to be a protected class, and too bad for the citizenry. (Updated 5/4/17 - Congress removed the language exempting themselves from losing essential benefits.) (Updated 5/5/17 - Looks like Congress will be exempt from the downsides to the ACHA after all.  Article here.)

Also today, a review of all monument designated land since 1996 was ordered by the president.  Apparently Bear's Ears is being targeted again, as is Grand Staircase-Escalante.  Article here.  There is much appetite for drilling for oil and gas on public land. 

And finally, the FCC is again advocating the end of net neutrality.  Why is this such a big deal?  It's a big deal because it un-levels the playing field. When YouTube was a start up in someone's garage, Google was developing Google Video.  Google had way more money than YouTube, and had the net not been neutral they could have paid ISPs to favor Google Video over YouTube.  However, that playing field was level, YouTube was better, and they won.  Google eventually bought them, but that's another story.  This article discusses the ramifications.

There is rain in the forecast for tonight.  Tomorrow's winds are supposed to be in the upper 20s gusting to 40.  We may stay inside!

1 comment:

  1. Did not know that emergency care was one of the benefits states might not opt out of with the new/not-improved version of Trumpcare. As you can imagine, that is very concerning to me, having just gone through some pretty serious ER care. I read a quote on Daily Kos today about how the new plan is finally cruel enough for the uber-conservatives to buy in. Sad!