Crazy land

2013-01-26 16.58.57.jpg

The land of ice and cold/Craig Medred photo

As a prelude to New Year’s Eve in Alaska’s largest city, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake rattled the Anchorage Metropolitan area, the news reported to America.  In many places, this would have been a big shake, but in the 49th state people shrugged their shoulders and got on about the business of celebrating the passing of time.

Only about six hours after the earthquake, hurricane force winds started slamming the Anchorage Hillside. From about 4 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., a National Weather Service tracked wind gauge on the roof of a neighbor’s home about 1,000 feet high in the foothills of the Chugach Mountains above Potter March recorded gusts to or over 70 mph every few minutes.

Just up the hill, homeowner Tim Kelley snapped a photo of the dial on his anemometer peaking at 101 mph. His roof stayed on. The winds were just another moment of climate excitement in the ‘hood.

From 3,000 miles to the southeast, looking at Kelley’s email, I felt strangely jealous about missing out on the excitement.

More than anything, these are the sort of geophysical events that define Alaska. It is an easy thing to forget when you’re living in the 49th state, and a hard thing to overlook when you’re outside the 49th state.

The big blow attracted little media attention anywhere, even in Alaska. The Hillside – with its wind-beaten microclimate – is as remote as the Bush to many in the Anchorage Bowl.

And, of course, the people along the mountain had been warned.

“‘One-two punch’ of windstorms bears down on Anchorage,” the Anchorage Daily News had reported the day before in a story summarizing an earlier windstorm. The news from the first blow was “scattered power outages and closed ski lifts.”

“Building winds put a damper on ski plans Sunday afternoon. Arctic Valley Ski Area announced it would be closing for the day….Hilltop Ski Area also announced the closure of its chairlift Sunday due to wind, but said its beginner Tudor Tow lift would be open.”

Life goes on

Where else in the world would a ski area keep a rope tow running for the little ones when it’s too windy to safely operate the chairlifts? But hey, why not?

Kids are low to the ground. It’s harder for the wind to knock them over.

And this is Alaska where life is different, rawer, harder, a little less civilized even where it is civilized.

“We are here because we like to suffer,” a friend e-mailed from Willow where the temperature was spring like but not in a good way. All the nice snow beloved by snowmachiners, skiers and sled doggers was turning to something else that starts with an S.

And now it is turning back into ice. The Susitna River valley is forecast to see temperatures of 20 degrees below zero by the weekend. 

Welcome to the new year in the land of extremes.

Temperate in all ways

In Michigan, it was 38 and raining, and 45 and sunny, and sometimes freezing at night and spitting some snow. Most of the bigger lakes were still largely ice free, and there were geese flying around.

The rain, when it rained, fell straight from the sky unlike on the Anchorage Hillside where it likes to claw at your face. But it being the end-of-year, start-of-year holiday nobody went out in the weather much.

When it is the New Year holidays and you are around family in the Wolverine State, the civilized thing to do is sit around and watch football teams lose.  The University of Michigan took a shellacking at the hands of Florida in the Peach Bowl in case you missed it.

“Michigan fans furious at Jim Harbaugh after embarrassing Peach Bowl loss,” the Detroit Free Press headlined.

Michigan State tried to help take the heat off Harbaugh by losing six to seven to Oregon in the Redbox Bowl. Yes, you read that right: 6 to 7. No, this was not a baseball game. It really was a football game.

“Michigan State offense lost in a fog with no clear answers,” the Detroit News reported after that one. 

No one seemed too upset. Michiganers are getting used to post-season, gridiron failures. Despite the newspaper headlines, they seem to take losing in stride. The state is pretty laid back, very civilized – sort of like Seattle was before it got discovered.

Now most everyone in the Emerald City seems preoccupied with being in a rush. What they are rushing to only they know, but it must be important. They do share one thing in common with those here, though, and with those in most of the U.S. really, and that is a significant disconnect from the natural world.

It’s out there, but it has been pretty well conquered. Urbanity has taken over a lot of ground, and where it hasn’t the countryside is nicely carved up with roads and nature in all its forms feels a safe distance away.

Help is never far off. The animals are either friendly or road kill.

Sometimes they’re likely both, but no one seems to worry about that. Worrying about how animals die is for most Americans a subject of concern only in far off places like Alaska.

The daily motorized massacres on the highways of the Lower 48 states? Collateral damage.

The cost of doing business. An unavoidable consequence of the modern world. Just what happens.

You have to be from Alaska, where wildlife isn’t all that plentiful despite the myth to the contrary, to even notice the smashed carcasses littering the pavement everywhere in the blended mix of places not really rural and not really suburban that now characterize so much of Middle America.

And the rest of it, the ever more truly urban America?

So much of the rest of it is a river of humanity – people crowding the pathways of travel the way salmon clog the rivers of Alaska in a good year. Economic forces have pushed people into the cities in ways that could not have been imagined even 50 years ago.

Nearly one in three Americans now live in purely urban environments, and almost nine out of 10 Americans inhabit urban or suburban areas, most of which have far more in common with urban American than rural America despite what the people living in them might want to believe.

The data, according to the Pew Research Center, says a hoped for “rural rebound” in the 1990s failed to materialize and rural American continues to fade. These trends appear destined to continue into future.

Against this backdrop, Alaska appears on track to become ever more the outlier state. The residents of Anchorage and Fairbanks, the state’s two largest cities, are in many ways more rural in character than the suburban residents of this state who think of themselves as closer to rural than urban.

It is a different place Alaska.









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82 replies »

    • Boy Mongo, you must think we are all low-watt bulbs here. I’ll bet Barnes is a “democrat,” too. Along with her daughter’s killers.

      • So Steve-O, you sound like someone who’s going out on a limb here as an avid reader of “The Gateway Pundit.” Stunning update, indeed!

    • I lost the Dems on “reality” when they started pushing 57+ different genders and expecting others to accept this dysfunction as the norm.

  1. That’s an apt title for this article, even more so the comment section below it…so far only one of which was about the subject of the article.

    There are plenty of places in the lower 48 that are rural, and even wild…however the scope is much much smaller. Take a look at one of the night time photos from space, it really is amazing. The Eastern seaboard looks like you could drive from North to South without ever turning your car lights on! As you move West there are great stretches where lights are not seen at night. Anchorage is a small city by lower 48 standards, hell many cities in the lower 48 merge into the next and you could not tell where one stops and the other starts if it weren’t for the street signs.

    There aren’t many of us left who have dug an outhouse and hauled their own water, some of us still do one or both.

    • Good for you Steve-O. Have you dug an outhouse in permafrost yet? As you can well imagine, they tend to be shallow.

      • Bill,
        I have dug my own outhouse and hauled my own water for years although I now enjoy my creature comforts at 20 below.
        I found it interesting the state of Alaska said this on their website:
        “Homesteading is not available now. The climate and unpredictable summer weather generally discourage camper or tent living for extended periods.”
        Sure the land is no longer free, but there are plenty of parcels available to “homestead” on.
        I wonder why AK discourages homesteading…
        Maybe the state knows there are few jobs outside urban centers?

      • I’ll make a stab at why Alaska is not making “homesteading” land available now, Steve-O. Little demand for it.
        Our “homesteading” program was created in the 80s and prior to that they had an “open to entry” program (involving large remote parcels that required a survey and purchase from the State). Those “open to entry” parcels were given a window to convert to homesteads with the requirement that an habitable dwelling and a certain amount of living there substituting for the purchase price (sweat equity so to speak).
        Like you say, there are plenty of parcels available to “homestead” on and it’s my guess that they are mostly cheap, because they are remote from urban jobs. For some reason Alaska’s shift workers (North Slope workers and mining employees) don’t seem interested in “homesteading” and many choose to live outside the State. That could change, of course.
        Perhaps they value their creature comforts, too.

      • Bill,
        I agree with you on the shift in “slopers” as last time I flew out of Anchorage, I thought I was in Houston or Oklahoma City from the faces surrounding me with their oil patch jackets on.
        As for Alaska, we are seeing a switch from the “rough and ready” type to the urban Yuppie.
        Instead of cutting firewood, hauling water and maintaining a homestead, new arrivals are more interested in climbing the corporate ladder while attending organized events on weekends like ski races, running events and fat tire bike loops.
        I guess the “Intrinsic Value” in a self reliance rural life is not appealing to younger millennium generations.
        It does not help that few economic development programs are scheduled for local economies throughout the state.

      • Steve, I agree with your “It does not help that few economic development programs are scheduled for local economies throughout the state.”
        We are in for some tough economic times ahead for exactly that reason IMO. The “Economic Trends” folks at our Dept of Labor have been recently suggesting that we should be pulling out of our recent recession but my guess is that this will be postponed, due to our latest drop in oil prices. Hope I’m wrong, here.

      • I believe you are correct.
        Oil prices will continue to fall and all our eggs are in that basket with the Dunleavy/ Parnell/ Babcock Team.
        When I met our new governor years ago when he was a state senator working with the mat su borough to build new firehouses in Willow, I suggested fixing up the old building and hiring some EMT / Firefighters for the community.
        Well, as you can imagine my proposal was not well received and the state and borough dumped nearly 2 million into buildings with very little apparatus or personal to support.
        This way of appeasing tax payers with better ISO insurance ratings, but little to no coverage is completely opposite from the systems that I was used to.
        To this day many EMS calls go unanswered until mutual aid comes in from nearby towns.
        A few contractors benefited from this spending, but overall none of the volunteers who “worked” to keep the services going.

      • Never tried to dig a hole in the permafrost, seems like the way to do it would be to shave the slush off the top and come back the next day and repeat until the hole is deep enough.

        The State still offers remote staking which could be used for homesteading, they also offer agricultural land and all sorts of land all over the state:

        That’s just the DNR, there is mental health land, the college land trust land, and some local boroughs have their own land sales.

      • That’s exactly what I did in early 80s, Steve-O. It would only thaw about an inch a day so was slow going. Much later I learned that the old time gold miners in the interior used a “steam generator” to thaw ground all the way down to bedrock.
        The only “steam generator” I’ve seen looked sort of like a wagon wheel that would be thrown on top of a large fire-this needed a water source going into it and the spokes of the wheel were pipes that would heat up the water to make steam that would be put to the permafrost with a sort of nozzle that could be inserted into the ground as it thawed. This set-up could be dismantled for hauling to any new site and reconstructed-the only thing needed was a source of fuel for the large fire. Needless to say a lot of forest was cut to provide that steam.
        The steam generator I saw is still in the Dugan Hills in what’s left of a fallen cabin there. I also found where someone sunk three shafts with that generator but they had all sloughed in (may not have been supported). Have no idea if they found any gold, either.

      • Yeah, those old-timers sure were good at improvising and adapting to get the job done.

        How many people, now-a-days, do you think heat their house with their own labor of cutting trees down and chopping the wood and then feeding that fire? In Alaska percent wise obviously much higher than the lower 48, but even in Alaska I would be surprised if it were even in the double digits…doing the whole thing that is, not buying pre-fell, pre-chopped firewood.

      • Thanks for the stats Bill, I was more thinking in line with what this article was talking about and the urban rural divide, and how most people aren’t as in touch with wilderness as they used to be. Out of those 11.5 million how many actually harvested and chopped that wood themselves, and is that their only source of heat? I currently have a wood stove but heat mainly with natural gas. I chop wood and burn wood because I have dead wood on the property and it’s cheaper than gas, plus a good backup for when the gas/electricity go out.

      • Steve-O,
        Wood heat is the most sustainable source of heat in Alaska in my opinion.
        I cut over 80 percent of the 10 cord that I burn each year.
        My main furnace is an outdoor wood boiler which heats home & shop along with all hot water on-site.
        I also have a woodstove inside for when I am not using the boiler.
        Most of the trees that I cut for fuel was burnt in the Sockeye Fire and is readily available.
        I also began using a battery powered chainsaw this year and use Canola oil for bar lube….
        Works great for all the small burnt Spruce.

      • Steve,

        How’s the canola oil work out? Seems like the viscosity might be too low, I usually use whatever oil I have around or 10w30. How’s the weight on the battery powered chainsaw and how long does the battery last, what does the charging do to your electrical cost? Depending on where you are in AK it could be much more reasonable than using gas.

      • Have a friend with a 36 volt chainsaw and used it for a bit. Extra small kerf but it cut pretty well. I’m not ready to turn in any of my Husqvarnas though.
        Also know of some who use edible oils for their chainsaws that are used to cut the brisket on a moose. I’m using a sawsall, rather than chainsaw for that.

      • The Canola oil seems to work surprisingly well, it is actually cheaper than conventional oil when bought in bulk.
        My Makita 36 Volt is great for the smaller diameter spruce, but I still keep a Stihl or two on hand for the larger stuff.
        I am off the grid, so my generator is on for a few hours to charge our battery bank and then I run on an Invertor for most of the day.
        Never lost power through the Earthquake…
        Hopefully next year I can tie in some solar panels to the system and charge all my batteries by the sun.

      • Steve,
        It’s cool that you are off the grid and use battery powered tools, they have their uses for just those times and when needed. Environmentally wise it would probably be better to use your gas saws unless you can’t for whatever reason. The amount of fuel you use to get your fuel to where you use your fuel to charge your batteries with a relatively inefficient small generator will make the carbon footprint astronomical in comparison to a gas chainsaw, but you do you. Let’s hope you get those solar panels up soon! You know the carbon footprint of solar panels, and all the chemicals used to make them, and where they are made right?

        Sorry man, I really do like to hear what you are doing off the grid but sometimes a taste of reality helps.

      • We are all dependent on GAS to some extent in AK.
        My neighbors get propane and heating fuel delivered by hundred of gallons at a time….
        I use a small amount of unleaded in single cylinder motor to power system.
        It is smaller than a Honda “mo-ped” engine.
        Uses way less fuel than a Subaru on their daily commute.
        Crowley delivers my fuel to my door, so no extra waste getting it here since they are on the road making other deliveries.
        I can tell you I use a small fraction of gas compared to my old F250 I used to run.
        That said, our options in SC for power all pollute to some extent.
        Even natural gas burned by MEA has a fleet of diesel trucks maintaining the grid daily and fracking is used to get it from the earth.
        Even wind turbines kill birds and you pointed out the chemicals in solar panels…
        There are other concerns with lead batteries (which I properly recycle).
        My switch to the battery saw was for personal reasons…smell and noise.
        I prefer the silence in between cuts and two stroke emissions are more toxic…
        So until renewables are at my doorstep, we must all use some form of gas (either at home or burned at central generation facility) for our electricity in the area.

    • Thank you Mongo for showing us how Burt could possibly come up with his conclusion-namely he didn’t know what he was concluding.
      By the way, according to the numbers in the link I furnished (from BLS), the total first two year’s loss in jobs is approximately 3000 (-4000 in 2009, +1000 in 2010). Of course the difference is that Obama inherited the “great recession” where Trump got a strong economy.

      • Sorry for the blunder here Mongo, but my numbers above should all have a k after them indicating millions rather than thousands.

    • “Mr. Trump’s legal perils have deepened — and federal prosecutors in New York appear to have gathered evidence implicating him in a campaign finance crime — Democrats have said they want to wait to see the findings of an investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, of the president, his campaign and Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.”
      “Mr. Nadler, Ms. Pelosi and other party elders believe Mr. Trump is threatening the country’s democratic institutions.”

    • You are going to need to show us where 4 million jobs were lost in those 8 years, Burt. As I listed in my BLS information about jobs created (average monthly), here is the link where it came from:
      Note: there is only one year where there is job loses (2009) and the rest are all gains.
      Like I said, figures don’t lie but liars do figure!
      Thanks for the link showing what you meant by 714% increase-link said this was “over a similar period for Obama.”

      • I don’t hold the hands of idiots. I don’t need to do anything, its in the BLS data for anyone.

      • When anyone uses such an excuse, on here or anywhere, it’s usually because they are full of shit, Burt.
        Note that Bryan listed BLS job increases of 4.8 million that seem to be a bit shy of your 9 million.
        I will say that over 4 million jobs were lost in 2009 but none were lost after with 2010 showing a gain of over a million jobs.
        So……………………..we are back to “figures don’t lie but liars do figure!” Whatever you do Burt, be more careful about talking of idiots. Heheh!

      • Maybe Bryan can bail you out, Burt? Heheh!
        We won’t hold our breath, however. Pretty hard to bail out bullshit.

      • At a town hall in June 2016, President Obama famously said that some manufacturing jobs “are just not going to come back.” He went on to mock then-candidate Trump by saying he’d need a “magic wand” to make good on this manufacturing job promises.

        Months later, as the shock of a President-elect Donald Trump was still being absorbed, New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman tweeted on November 25, 2016, “Nothing policy can do will bring back those lost jobs. The service sector is the future of work; but nobody wants to hear it.”

        Well, a funny thing happened—Trump’s policies, and just as importantly, the expectation of Trump’s policies, ignited a manufacturing resurgence.

        In the first 21 months of the Trump presidency, nonfarm employment grew by a seasonally adjusted 2.6%. In the same period, manufacturing employment grew by 3.1%, reversing the trend under Obama when overall employment grew faster than employment in the manufacturing sector.

        Comparing the last 21 months of the Obama administration with the first 21 months of Trump’s, shows that under Trump’s watch, more than 10 times the number of manufacturing jobs were added.

        Manufacturing Jobs Have Resumed Growing Under President Trump’s Pro-Growth PoliciesTexas Public Policy Foundation

        Three things likely sparked this manufacturing jobs spike.

        First, eight years of the Obama Administration’s piling on regulation upon regulation, from labor rules, to the Clean Power Plan, to the implementation of ObamaCare, placed industry into a defensive crouch. Business leaders were fearful of investing capital, not knowing how the federal rules might capriciously change, thus wiping out their expected return on investment.

      • Bryan, nothing wrong with inundating us with numbers here, but Burt is in dire need of some help on his total jobs numbers. We are all on the same page with manufacturing jobs.
        He (Burt) needs someone who can bullshit like he can-are you up to the job??

      • Bill first you should clarify your definition of a lie when slander someone. Are you saying he purposely tells miss truths to deceive or are saying he incidentally presented a picture that was inaccurate? They are enormously different. If you don’t differentiate correctly then strangely you are in same position as bert . Either presenting a misleading picture possibly by accident or nefariously slandering an inaccurate statement as a lie to color someone as untrustworthy and deceitful. Due to the enormous implications of the word lie it’s an inappropriate usage of the language unless you prove which one Burt or whoever uses . Therefore unless you are omniccent you should refrain from calling people a liar and use a more accurate provable term . Which definition did you want to smear Bert with . Challeng Now prove you are correct on your specific part of your differentiation of the meaning or else you also could be considered a liar under the dictionary definition. As you could be presenting a false picture of Bert or anyone in future. Do you Comprehend ? Obviously many people , myself including have been guilty of missusing that word I’m sure . But do to implications including historical implications where people routinely killed each other or changed their lives over that word it’s a darn poor one to use without proof. Not saying you aren’t right but this should be considered if you want to be accurate.

      • OK, Opinion. The saying “figures don’t lie but liars do figure” is clearly suggesting (without calling him a liar) that Burt is lying to us here however his refusing to give us his link or his reasoning is what makes the case for me. He is a “bullshitter,” plain and simple. No other way to take it.
        Even General McChrystal was careful about calling Don Trump a “liar” even when we all know he is.
        Burt is a bullshitter!
        If you need proof, just look at the link I provided and add up the monthly jobs numbers. It’s quite possible that Burt didn’t even realize what he said: “9 million more jobs added in the last two years than in the preceding 8 years.” And now he wishes he could take it back. Instead he huffs and puffs about not wanting to deal with idiots. I suggest you chastise Burt here for “slander.” Heheh!

      • My thought is you are right . Burt slander himself by stating inaccurate by accident . I also think no need to chastise as I think you covered that . Some personality have habit of poor number representing often in part due to poor understanding . Glad info was provided. Your depiction of mcrystal basically says you understand calling someone a liar or trying to paint them as perhaps one is a poor choice of an accurate description. With potential excessive lasting results. But evidently you got that quickly. Thanks for implementing info .

    • Well Burt, I’ve been almost begging Bryan to bring in some “bullshit” on here to help you out with your own bullshit.
      No luck!
      You are on your own.
      Maybe Mongo can give you a propaganda video here. Maybe something from “focus on the family” or American College of Pediatrics. Heheh!

  2. What could change the landscape is that under the current regime there’s a 714% increase in manufacturing jobs; mostly in lower tax states such as Texas as opposed to high tax states such as Michigan. 9 million more jobs added in the last two years than in the preceding 8 years.

    • This is not the honor system here, Burt.
      Your numbers don’t compute, especially your last sentence. I’m sure you’ll want to back them up with a link. Also, that 714% increase in manufacturing jobs is over what (annual, monthly)??

      • While we are waiting for Burt (figures don’t lie but liars do figure) to give his source, here is a look at latest jobs report:
        Note in here it states the year over year increase in jobs for 2018 is 2.88 million which pretty much insists that Don Trump has not increased jobs by 9 million over Obama. Also, BLS statistics given in a Washington Post article (9,2018) gives the average monthly increase in jobs for years (2009-2018) as (-355k, 90k, 200k, 168k, 189k, 254k, 217k, 208k, 175k, and 217k*).
        * this number was estimated and due to latest jobs report would no doubt increase
        That link also gives a good read on manufacturing jobs increases.

      • Here you go Bill – the 714% you asked for:
        With the December jobs number, President Trump now has two full years of economic performance to compare with his predecessor, President Obama. The two biggest statistical standouts are:

        Manufacturing jobs are growing at a 714% faster clip under Trump than over a similar time under Obama

        , and;
        Under Obama, federal state and local government employment grew 6 times faster than did manufacturing jobs, while under Trump, that ratio has been reversed, with manufacturing jobs growing 5 times faster than government jobs.

      • I got that from Burt’s link Bryan, thanks. It didn’t make sense from his original post.

      • So bill and Bryan . The specific numbers are not that important except they show trends and results from certain actions. It’s short sighted and misleading to blame or appear to blame Obama or even to defend Obama in comparison to trump in my opinion. The numbers and reasons must go farther back for an honest accurate look and understanding. Obama was basically handed a very very bad situation and didn’t handle perfect. Consider how bad it was the numbers in his term are of limited value. What matters is where did our shitty situation come from ? I will throw into mix it got especially bad with nafta . As well as excessive free trade . Obviously immigration is a concern bet lesser so and you can’t blame immigrants seeking jobs from a rich country. What caused there country to be poor and how to help that is important. How to fix our country is important. Focus on Obama not that helpful except he followed bad policy from predecessors. Now question is will trumps policy help eventually over bush Clinton Obama policy . That’s important question and the answer is probably but enormous research from smart folks is needed . Would it help to reign in or abolish the fed for a better system? Probably. Smart people should prove why . Thanks. My opinion

      • Opinion, I disagree with you sir. In a nutshell, Obama did everything he could to wreck the economy, Energy Sector, Healthcare, etc.. The man’s mother was an anti-American train wreck, his dad was a woman beating, anti-Colonial racist, his grandparents were communists and his mentor ffom 10yo-18yo (Frank Marshall Davis) was on the FBI’s Communist Watch list. Anita Dunn said Mao was her me tor. Greatest mass murderer in history. Van Jones, a self admitted Communist. Hell yes I blame that fraud Obama. The economy succeeded in spite of him and his reckless policies, job killing regulations, and the most debt every created on the planet.

      • Opinion, the most significant (IMO) thing behind what’s been happening was the “Great Recession” and the bailout of the banks that took place under extreme circumstances. Henry Paulson sold everyone on this (bailout) because the concern was that the world economy would collapse without it. A lot of Republicans voted for this (including Lisa) and they all consider themselves as good capitalists, too. Capitalists don’t believe in bailouts, of course, and nobody went to jail, either. There were large numbers of businesses that closed their doors (laying off thousands) simply because they felt the coming disaster-many going into gold with their savings. Few gave Obama a chance in a thousand of being able to bring us out of recession but Gentle Ben had a few ideas. Bernanke was a student of the Great Depression and his ideas probably is what kept the great recession from becoming another depression IMO.
        You say he didn’t handle it perfect-what a thing to say in hindsight when few (at the time) gave us a chance of not going into a full depression.

      • Boy Bryan, you are here bullshitting your way when it is Burt that needs your help with some serious bullshit.

      • Bill, which part about Obama do you disagree with? I would love nothing more then to challenge you on that bafoon. But, we are way off Craig’s topic.
        And while you are at it, look up ole Bill’s Community Reinvestment Act.

      • The entirety Bryan!
        Are you going to help out old Burt? Heheh! He is going under for the third time.

      • Bryan , you misunderstood perhaps. My point was Americans economy has been going down hill for at least 30 years , perhaps longer . Not talking about just who has jobs but rather their value as to dollar purchase power for needed items. Jobs numbers themselves went down hill with nafta . The fed is destroying our money vallue with interest on each dollar made . It’s a scam . You could shine accurate light on its bogus system. Bleak jobs is Not counting technology and a few other sectors . I don’t approve of Obama but he was not sole problem. It’s deeper than him . If you argue back and forth about Obama the real picture is lost . That is that there appears to be a long term concerted effort to wipe out America as manufacturer super power as well as totally screw our nation in most every way . Obama was just a small part . The people who financed him also finance the Clinton’s. I have studied Obama fairly well . He was not suited to be president. He had no real life working experience. What’s more important is what is obama doing right now that undercuts a sitting president as well as the illegal surveillance he allowed on team trump combined with using the judicial investigations to put fear into trump backers or anyone who supports future change . It’s a very very dark thing that is going on . Extreme criminal Clinton would have sealed the deal . Thank god she wasn’t elected. America missed a death blow . Those items are what need made clear and undstandable . You waste your time arguing about a minor cog obama when there is a much much larger picture to see . Being as you seem to have access to a lot of info you should start drawing an accurate picture of what America faces . Unless you don’t see it . I would myself but I don’t have time or resources. Ps bill keep your tinfoil hat . What I say is starting to look true.

      • Bill I agree with you about Bernake . I was very impressed with him . He was good man on the job . I’m not happy with bailouts and our skyrocketing interest payments . Those items are a mess . May screw our future. I will also give obama some credit as I expected a far worse outcome. That said he could have done lots more and just because we didn’t have a true depression doesn’t help when people can’t find jobs and the jobs they get can’t pay the bills becouse money isn’t worth beans anymore compared to 70s . Obama helped the rich but very little was done for middle and poor . But I don’t blame him . He was a community organizer not a buisness man / working man or even an America first man . I think his lack of performance was unavoidable due to his lack of life experience. Lack of Trials and travails of hard knocks and extreme efforts. His personal life had those but those lessons were not transferable to buisness and common mans needs . Aside from health care which was a start but doomed do to method of application.

    • Bill –
      Data released by the Labor Department on Friday reveal that 4.8 million more Americans have joined the work force since President Trump took office in January 2017.
      The jobs data began the new era of good feelings for stocks Friday morning, showing that the economy adding a double-take worthy 312,000 jobs in December.
      The manufacturing sector added 284,000 positions over 2018, its best year since 1997. Best in 20 years.
      More than 3.5 million people have dropped off food stamps since President Donald Trump’s first full month in office, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

      • I agree Bryan-this agrees with my link showing 2.88 million increase in 2018 and an overall great jobs report for December.
        My issue is with Burt saying that Trump added the 4 million jobs lost by Obama (bullshit) plus his own 5 million (he must be rounding up your number) to get at his 9 million.

      • “However, in many parts of the country adding jobs, being employed is no longer enough to alleviate financial challenges. There were 7.6 million Americans in the labor force living in poverty in 2016”
        “If a job doesn’t pay enough to get you out of poverty, it’s not a desirable job,” said Marty Kohli, chief regional economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

      • Steve, your premise is involved in what’s occurring as the blue-flu (TSA employees calling in sick during government shutdown). It’s my opinion that many of these blue collar workers will/are having a difficult time working without pay. And I also suspect their calling in sick is so that they can do other jobs to keep the wolf away from their door. Remember here that these folks are not furloughed and must work without pay. How do they cover their rent, mortgage, childcare, etc.?
        This will get worse, I predict, if this shutdown continues. At some point these folks will just up and leave their jobs if they find something else. Tough call for them.

      • Bill,
        I am trying to show that it is not just the amount of new jobs that matters….they need to pay a livable wage, say $15.00 an hour at least.
        Most of the new jobs in L48 and Alaska are starting around 10 bucks an hour.
        The line between rich and poor is growing rapidly under Trump and the “jobs numbers” does not address this.
        “While welfare benefits and access to health insurance are being slashed, President Donald Trump’s tax reform has awarded “financial windfalls” to the mega-rich and large companies, further increasing inequality, he said in a report.
        U.S. policies since President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty in the 1960s have been “neglectful at best”, he said.”

  3. Craig, you bring up an interesting point about urban sprawl but, you left out the evolving technology of telecommuting. We have a family friend who lived and worked in VA. His employer closed the VA office and moved operations to TX. Our friend just put a $100,000 pool in the backyard the year before. What is a guy to do? Luckily (for now) his company allows him to travel to TX every other week and telecommute the other weeks. So, I find it interesting with companies benefitting financially from telecommuting that people still flock to urban areas of higher taxes, gridlock, congestion, soaring home values, noise, crime, etc.. Maybe we are gluttens for punishment and herd animals after all.

      • Bryan,
        First off, many guns sold “privately” in the U.S. are STOLEN, over 600,000 a year….secondly, many “private” dealers sell over 100 weapons a year with NO government oversight.
        Many of these 1 million plus “private” arms sales wind up in the hands of criminal activity throughout North America.
        The gun shows we see throughout rural America also contribute to this stolen arms “re-sale” situation….especially in Bush Alaska.
        As for the F bomb….
        Is that any worse than killing innocent civillans in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, etc?
        I think NOT!
        Many commenting on her article stated:
        “Looking back to Kanye West’s visit to the Oval Office, I seem to remember hearing him say motherf-ker, although it was in reference to himself.”
        Maybe Trump was the one who “took the gloves off first”?
        Maybe, Americans are just plain sick of conservative hypocrisy?

      • So, if “many guns are sold stolen”, then the Democrats law, as usual is to harm the law abiding. Which is typical because criminals dont give a chit about Democrat laws right?
        So, you equate a newly, Jr. Congresswoman calli g the President of the US a Mother F’er to fighting terrorism abroad? I could see how those two relate. Heck, she probably has terrorist uncles. Figures! Wrong on both accounts.

      • The Guardian called it best:
        “And the incoming class has shown they’re unlike establishment Democrats in recent years in another important way: they’re willing and capable of fighting Trump’s fire with fire.”
        I said: “killing innocent civillans in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, etc?”
        Not “fighting terrorists”…
        Wait till she drops the BDS bomb shell…then you will see the “blue hairs” run for cover:)

      • Steve, she is indicative of your typical leftist big mouth. All you have to do is look at her picture. She looks like she needs a boot in her mouth. Congress!!! Sheesh. Don’t get me started on that other lying “victim” from NY.

      • Bryan,
        How does it feel to not respect those in office?
        After your responses of name calling, you now wish to “put a boot in her mouth”.
        And no one thinks the fascist threat in real…
        Funny how Republicans are so supportive of govenment when they have the majority…
        Maybe you should re-read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (after the first civil war)…
        “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
        Nowhere was corporate governance by corporate sponsors written in our books.
        And no where was one religion chosen superior to another.
        Enjoy the show ahead, I am sure 2019 will be full of flavor in the halls of Congress!

      • Steve, that woman is a pig.. A slob. You want to support her go ahead. Curious though how deep Obama’s pockets were filled with corporate kickbacks? I remember this guy named Soros as well. What did Lincoln say about treason ??

      • Bryan,
        I don’t think she is a slob…
        She looked well dressed to me.
        Your “put a boot in her mouth” comment made me think of an old Jack London story called “The Iron Heel”.
        The copy I read had a big black boot stepping on someone’s head…
        The epitome of Fascism!
        “The Iron Heel is a dystopian novel by American writer Jack London, first published in 1908. Generally considered to be “the earliest of the modern dystopian” fiction, it chronicles the rise of an oligarchic tyranny in the United States.”

      • So Steve, you throw out the word fascism all the time. I just do not know how you always compare Trump and his “Make America Great Again” to fascism. I mean with Obama ( bigger and bigger gov is greater) to Pelosi (the gov will control your life), to Bernie the “Bolshevik” Sander’s, to ANTIFA, OWS, to Hollywood supporting Chavez, etc..
        Maybe this will help and the term “DEMOCRATS” will stand out. You do realize who stacked the last admin don’t you?
        “The only official definition of Fascism comes from Benito Mussolini, the founder of fascism, in which he outlines three principles of a fascist philosophy.
        1.”Everything in the state”. The Government is supreme and the country is all-encompasing, and all within it must conform to the ruling body, often a dictator.
        2.”Nothing outside the state”. The country must grow and the implied goal of any fascist nation is to rule the world, and have every human submit to the government.
        3.”Nothing against the state”. Any type of questioning the government is not to be tolerated. If you do not see things our way, you are wrong. If you do not agree with the government, you cannot be allowed to live and taint the minds of the rest of the good citizens.”

      • Steve, this is what fascists look amd act like: “Canada’s first female prime minister, Kim Campbell, referred to President Donald Trump with an expletive Saturday over his commitment to building a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

        Campbell, who served as prime minister from June to November 1993, described President Trump a “motherf**ker!” in a tweet sent before 10:00 a.m. this morning — using the same profanity-laced term as freshman congresswoman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) in her pledge this week to impeach the president.”

    • “Crazy Land” is right huh Steve?

      MariaChappelleNadal (D)
      I like dropping f-bombs on the record. It clears up any uncertainty.

      • Bryan,
        “Crazy” to me is our new governor’s response to Climate Change.
        It was just 41 degrees in Willow at the start of this week.
        “Dunleavy responded by saying, “Alaska is not really a smoke stack state. Our contribution to climate change is probably minimal. We need to make sure Alaskans are going to work. We use technology where we can to reduce emissions. But our contribution to climate change is minimal.” Dunleavy concluded that Alaska need not act.”
        These statements as he drops the state’s climate action team in the face of overwhelming scientists who speak the opposite?
        “Alaska climate scientist Rick Thoman tells KYUK-AM that 2018 was the fifth year in a row that the average temperature in Bethel has been above freezing…
        He says Bethel has never had a “five-year period with the average temperature above freezing in the past century until now.”

      • Never argue with idiots and Communists, and all Communists are idiots but not all idiots are Communists.

    • Sounds like “locker-room talk” to me!
      She sure didn’t mention grabbing said “mfer” by a body part. That bar was already set pretty low.

  4. When we were kids in the 1950s, our water filter was a rag tied on the faucet, those of us blessed to have indoor plumbing. When Outside teachers came for the school year, we thought they were ‘weak’ when our drinking water gave them stomach problems. And our village has experienced high winds & storms. We hunker down, take care of each other and get through it. Alaska truly is a different place, and I live at the center of the world

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