Sunday, November 30, 2014

Links To End November

Here are some things recently in the news, including a few Ferguson-related items:

From Fox News, former policeman Darren Wilson, who recently resigned, will not receive any severance package.

From Yahoo News, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) gives his opinion of the grand jury proceeding arising from the death of Michael Brown.  He thinks that there should not have been any.

Speaking of opinions, Bernard Goldberg says that Michael Brown is not a civil rights martyr.

From Newsbusters, in a panel discussion on Ferguson, Rich Lowry of the National Review dares to confuse the issue with facts.

From gotnews, the marketing director of United Blackout, a movement to "boycott capitalism" that arose in 2008 in response to the shooting of a black commuter by a transit officer in Oakland, and which more recently urged blacks to avoid shopping on Black Friday in response to the non-indictment of Officer Wilson, is very white and very much a capitalist.

From KMOV, 16 people were arrested outside the Ferguson Police Department Friday night, of which 15 are from out of town.  (via The Blaze)

From the Washington Examiner, the Brown family attorney has indicated possible plans for a civil suit.

From Reuters, the Chinese company Fosun has increased its bid to buy Club Med.

From The Guardian, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, wants to put his office in charge of the city's criminal justice system.

From the New York Post, New York is the third worst state in which to get caught speeding.

From the Sunday Express, American intelligence officers have uncovered a plot by al Qaeda to blow up five European passenger airplanes.

From UPI, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that this year's October is the warmest October on record.

From CBS News, the body of missing Ohio State University football player Kosta Karageorge has been found in a dumpster, with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

From the Star Tribune, a small town in Texas has enacted a ban on fracking, which takes effect on Tuesday.

And from The New York Times, pro-democracy protesters and police clash in Hong Kong.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Despite having to drive through winter storm Cato, I made it safely down to my mother's house in Virginia, to celebrate Thanksgiving with the extended family.  It will soon be time to eat turkey, and later on watch some football.  Fortunately, the weather forecast for the upcoming weekend does not include any storms.  So may everyone who reads this blog have a happy Thanksgiving and safe travelling.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday Links

Here are some items in the news, including a few things happening in the aftermath of last night's announcement that Ferguson, MO policeman Darren Wilson will not be indicted for the shooting death of Michael Brown.  I know that the Al Sharptons of the world may not agree, but even police officers have a right to self defense.

From Reuters, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) has ordered more National Guard troops into Ferguson.

Western Journalism has 17 pictures from last night's riots.

The Daily Signal has 33 pictures from the riots.

From Breitbart TV, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) says that the young people in Ferguson "have the direction of this country in their hands".  In fairness, she does encourage nonviolence.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls the violence from last night "much worse" than what happened in August.  (via Gateway Pundit)

From Fox News, some people in the media are "issuing mea culpas" regarding their coverage of Bill Cosby over the years.

From The Daily Caller, under Obamacare, bigger employers can offer skimpier health plans.

From NoTricksZone, the European Climate Institute reports that European winters have been getting cooler since 1988.

From UPI, the Supreme Court has agreed to review EPA regulations on mercury.

From Wired, the early computer named ENIAC has been put on display,  The article's title calls ENIAC "the world's first computer", but some commenters dispute that claim.

From the New York Post, Yemeni troops kill al Qaeda kidnappers and free their hostages.

From DNAinfo, a couple living near Chicago's Midway Airport has filed a lawsuit against an airline whose plane crashed into their home.

From KXII, a policeman in Healdton, OK saves a man who had fallen into a creek.

And from Reuters Africa, 50 years after the Olympics in Innsbruck, an American skating pair is awarded the bronze medal.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Chuck Hagel Announces Resignation

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced that he will resign from his position, staying on until his replacement is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.  Hagel is the only Republican in President Obama's cabinet, and served as an Army sergeant in Viet Nam.

Hagel's resignation, coming after his president's party lost in the midterm elections during the president's sixth year in office, has a recent parallel in the 2006 ouster of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield from the cabinet of President George W. Bush, after the GOP lost badly in that year's midterms.

Read more at The New York Times, Yahoo News, NBC News, The Washington Post and AOL News.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Like It Or Not, SNL Picks On Obama

In a show-opening skit, Saturday Night Live pokes fun at the guy in the White House by spoofing the Schoolhouse Rock song I'm Just A Bill (and giving Bill a new rival).  This comes via Twichy, who note that some people on the left don't appreciate this offering from SNL, perhaps conveniently forgetting that the show has been picking on presidents ever since the days of Gerald Ford.

UPDATE:  NBC has blocked the YouTube video on copyright grounds, but another version from NBC themselves has appeared on HotAir, who discuss an attempt by The Washington Post to fact-check the skit.  As Ed Morrisey points out, the Post never tried to fact-check Tina Fey's portrayal of Sarah Palin saying that she could see Russia from her house, or evaluate whether the Blue Öyster Cult song Don't Fear The Reaper really needed more cowbell.  Thus, I've removed the YouTube video and replaced it with the one found at HotAir.  You'll have to wait through a 30-second ad before the SNL skit is played.

Marion Barry Jr., 1936-2014

Former Washington, DC Mayor Marion Barry died early this morning, shortly after being released from Howard University Hospital.  No cause of death has been publicly stated, but he had previously suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes, prostate cancer and kidney ailments, undergoing a kidney transplant in 2009.  Besides serving four terms as mayor, Barry had also been a member of the city council for 15 years, including the period from 2005 until his death.  He was also known for smoking crack cocaine during an FBI sting, which landed him in federal prison.

Marion Barry Jr. was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi on March 6, 1936 to Mattie Carr and Marion Barry Sr., a sharecropper.  During his boyhood, he delivered papers and became an Eagle Scout.  He graduated from LeMoyne College with a degree in chemistry and received a master's degree from Fisk University.  He was involved in NAACP chapters at both schools, helping to found the chapter at Fisk.  He came to Washington to be the director of the SNCC's Washington office, a position from which he would eventually resign.  In 1977, he was shot by Hanafi Muslims during the siege of the District Building, suffering a superficial wound.

Barry was married four times and divorced three times, and was separated from his fourth wife.  He also had some extra-marital affairs.  His only direct survivor is his son, Marion Christopher Barry.

Read more at The Washington Post, Fox News, CBC News and WUSA.

Friday, November 21, 2014

30,000 Missing IRS Emails Recovered

(H/T The Right Scoop)

It seems that the proverbial homework-eating dog that devoured a large number of emails at the IRS has allowed his stomach to be pumped.  From the Washington Examiner:
Up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever.
The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) informed congressional staffers from several committees on Friday that the emails were found among hundreds of “disaster recovery tapes” that were used to back up the IRS email system.
Read the full story.

Bigfoot's Immigration Reform Plan

Last night, during his speech on immigration, President Obama told the GOP to "pass a bill".  In principle, I agree.  Congress, not the president, has the power of enacting law.  Therefore, when the new Congress is seated this coming January, here's what I would like to see in a bill to reform our "broken" immigration system:

1) First and foremost is border security.  The border must be secured to the satisfaction of the citizens of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.  To that end, any money previously allocated for border fence construction must be actually used for that purpose.  The Border Patrol and any other federal or state agencies used to protect the border should be given the resources needed carry out this function.

2) The states must be allowed, without federal interference, to enact legislation that improves the ability of state and local law enforcement officers to ascertain the citizenship and immigration status of anyone they arrest.  Federal and state law enforcement officers should strive to work together, not against each other, to identify those who are illegally present in the United States.

3) The ability of illegal aliens who trespass on private property owned by American citizens or legal immigrants to sue property owners who act to defend their property should be greatly curtailed.  Illegal aliens caught trespassing should have the right to sue the property owner(s) or those acting on his/her/their behalf only if the alien(s) suffer(s) harm that is physical (which would include unlawful detention, but not emotional stress), deliberate, and in a degree above the amount necessary to defend the property.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Few Amnesty Links

Tonight at 8:00 p.m., President Obama is expected to deliver his planned executive actions on immigration, which have been called an "executive amnesty", or as I call it, shoving his middle finger into the face of all who have legally immigrated to the United States, past and present.  Some stories and opinion pieces running ahead of his address:

The Washington Post reports that Obama's actions "will shield 4 million from deportation".  (via Don't be a Moron!)

Via Pat Dollard, on their YouTube channel, the GOP uses Obama to criticize Obama.

The Daily Caller has done some number crunching.  According to them:
President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty will quickly add as many foreign workers to the nation’s legal labor force as the total number of new jobs created by his economy since 2009.
In National Review Online, Andrew McCarthy argues that the amnesty is not justified by the concept of "prosecutorial discretion".

In The Federalist, Gabriel Malor takes on the leftwing claim that President Reagan also offered amnesty by executive order.

And from Politico, the White House is "exasperated" that the major TV networks are not broadcasting his address.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Virginia Tech Denies Funding For Bay Buchanan Speech

The Student Budget Board at my alma mater doesn't seem to like having conservative speakers on campus.  From Fox News:
A conservative group at Virginia Tech is fighting back after a student-run group pulled its funding following a speech on illegal immigration by former Treasury Secretary Bay Buchanan.
Young Americans for Freedom, which co-sponsored the speech by the conservative pundit and sister of former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan with the school's College Republicans, is appealing a decision made by the university’s Student Budget Board. The board denied the group funding for an already-scheduled speech by (former GOP presidential candidate) Herman Cain, as well as all other aid for the rest of the year.
One of the groups sponsoring the speech changed the flyer publicizing it, due to complaints from the Latino Association of Student Organization.  Read the full story.

What Do "Climate Alarmists" Want?

We've all heard the warnings that unless humans decrease our production of CO2, especially from the consumption of fossil fuels, the atmosphere's greenhouse effect will be increased, bringing on disastrous results.  But do the people who tell us these things really believe what they're saying?  I'm sure that many do, but to others, whether they're scientifically correct is not the point.  Their real concerns are not environmental.  This is pointed out in an article in Forbes.  Although published in February 2013, I'd say that it's still relevant.

The Forbes article sets forth statements by people they call "climate alarmists".  Here's an excerpt containing two examples, from known world leaders.
In 1996, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev emphasized the importance of using climate alarmism to advance socialist Marxist objectives: “The threat of environmental crisis will be the international disaster key to unlock the New World Order.”
Speaking at the 2000 U.N. Conference on Climate Change in the Hague, former President Jacques Chirac of France explained why the IPCC’s climate initiative supported a key Western European Kyoto Protocol objective: “For the first time, humanity is instituting a genuine instrument of global governance, one that should find a place within the World Environmental Organization which France and the European Union would like to see established.”
The italics are used in the Forbes article to indicate quoted material, and are thus reproduced here.  Notice the goals of Gorbachev and Chirac - "the New World Order" and "global governance".  Advancing the concern about alleged man-made global warming is not an end in itself but a means to achieve these other goals.

Read the full article.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reverend Al Faces Tax Trouble

Via The Week:

Reverend Al Sharpton, often hailed as a civil rights hero, but also notorious for the Tawana Brawley hoax, is in serious trouble with federal and state taxing authorities, both personally and with respect to a company that he owns, Raw Talent and Revals Communications.  These tax liens total about $4.5 million.

A question for our friends on the left:  Does your belief that people should pay their "fair share" when it comes to taxes include those owed by Rev. Sharpton?

Read the story at The New York Times.


Via The Right Scoop:

Who is Jonathan Gruber, and what did he have to do with Obamacare?  To find out, watch this video, placed on YouTube by the user AmericanCommitment.

UPDATE:  There's more on Gruber and his involvement with Obamacare at Pundit Press.

One Last Look At Sedona

Here are the last few pictures I have from Sedona, taken during my last full day there.  Not far from where I stayed, there is pedestrian bridge over Oak Creek.  I took this picture of the creek from the bridge.

Here's the bridge itself, with a couple looking down at Oak Creek to get the same view as I had in the first picture above.

Also near where I stayed is a shopping area called Tlaquepaque, which includes this fountain.

And finally, here was the view from my balcony.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Amitabha Stupa

The Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park is located in northwestern Sedona.  It may be reached from state highway 89A by driving north on Andante Drive (one of several nearby streets named for musical terms) and then turning left onto Pueblo Drive.  The park includes a parking lot and driveway, both unpaved.  Like the surrounding rocks, the dirt (or more precisely, dust) that you drive on is reddish.  Along with the namesake stupa, the park also includes the smaller White Tara Stupa, which is about six feet tall, and shown here with the Amitabha Stupa in the background.  You can also see papers with prayers written on them and strung onto lines.

The back of the White Tara Stupa, and some nearby houses:

The Amitabha Stupa is 36 feet tall, with four flag lines connecting to its apex.  One of them appears to be just about right above me.  In the background is a formation that I believe is called Chimney Rock.

Here's a close-up of Chimney Rock.

The back of the Amitabha Stupa and a small seating pavilion:

Near the Amitabha Stupa is a wooden statue of the Buddha.

Near the pavilion is this prayer wheel.

Read more about the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park at Kunzang Palyul Choling and Wandering Educators.

Monday Links

I'm back in Maryland, so back to the routine I go, passing on stories in the news.

From LifeNews, a baby is born after his mother had taken the first pill of a multi-pill abortion drug.

From the Independent Sentinel, the DEA raids NFL teams in response to a civil lawsuit.

In the National Review Online, Matthew Continetti warns that executive amnesty for present illegal aliens will invite the next wave of illegal aliens.

From Politico, support for Obamacare hits a new low.

From Legal Insurrection, a British scientist who worked on the successful comet-bound Rosetta project has come under attack from feminists because of his shirt - which had been given to him by a woman.

From Reuters, Japan's economy unexpectedly slips into recession, causing their prime minister to consider delaying a sales tax increase and calling a "snap election".

From UPI, British and American industries are trying to improve aircraft wing technology.

From The Weekly Standard, the Supreme Court announces that they will hear King v. Burwell.

From Criminal Justice News, an alleged leader of a Mexican drug cartel has been extradited to the United States.

From CNS News, a high school in Virginia, in a reversal of an earlier decision, allows students to start a pro-life club.

From Real Clear Politics, former President Bill Clinton says, "I never bought this whole lame duck deal."

From Metro, two Australians trying to join ISIS are rejected for being too fat.  (via Breitbart London)

From Fox News, police are bracing themselves for possible violence in response to the upcoming Grand Jury decision on whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

From The Daily Caller, the chief of the EPA says that the current pause in global warming "doesn't represent climate".

From ABC News, Pope Francis has confirmed that he will visit Philadelphia.

And from the New York Post, women can now get a boob job that lasts 24 hours.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Music Break

Now that I'm back home, it's time for a music break.  The first selection is For The Heart by Elvis Presley, which I first heard back in college because one of my roommates had the album which included the song.  Although from the 1970's, its backing vocals remind me of the Jordanaires, who appeared on over 300 of Elvis's songs starting in 1956.

Red Rock State Park

Red Rock State Park is located southwest of Sedona, and may be reached from state highway 89A by either Red Rock Loop Road or Upper Red Rock Loop Road.  I used the former to reach the park and attempted to leave via the latter, only to find a sign the said "pavement ends", so I ended up leaving the same way I came in.  The park straddles Oak Creek, downstream from Oak Creek Canyon.

Just after starting my hike, I saw this rock formation, the top of which I would later reach by the Eagle's Nest Trail.

Just after starting my hike, I came upon two of the local residents.

Here's a view from somewhere along the Coyote Ridge Trail.  The building near the left edge of the photo is the visitor's center.

The Sentinel Trail Crossing includes these bridges over Oak Creek.

The Wikipedia page on this park includes the rather interesting story about how the park came to be.
Red Rock State Park was previously a part of a ranch, Smoke Trail Ranch. In 1941 it was purchased by Jack Frye, then-president of Trans World Airlines, as a southwestern retreat for himself and his wife Helen.[2] Helen Frye maintained the property for many years after Jack's death in 1959. In the early 1970s she sold 330 acres (130 ha) to a real estate development company, who planned to build a resort complex. The deal fell through from lack of funds. In 1976 the property was transferred to Eckankar, a new religious movement that Helen Frye belonged to, who planned a private retreat for their members.[2]
In the fall on 1980 a group of friends hiking along Oak Creek were informed by an Eckankar representative that they were trespassing on private property. The group happened to include Bruce Babbitt, then-governor of Arizona. Concerned about loss of public access along waterways, Babbitt researched the property and noted its potential for a full-fledged state park. After determining the willingness of all parties involved, Babbitt pursued a three-way land exchange: Eckankar would sell 286 acres (116 ha) of the Smoke Trail Ranch to Anamax Mining Company, who would donate the land to the state in exchange for 3,947 acres (1,597 ha) of Arizona State Land Department property they had been leasing in Pima County. Since state law only provided for such exchanges within a county, the Arizona Legislature had to pass new legislation allowing trans-county trades. The enabling law and the transfers were completed in 1981.[2]
As it turns out, footnote [2] refers to the "history" page of the park's website, the main page of which is linked on this post's first line above.  The apparent lesson is that if you're going to trespass on private property, it's a good idea to bring your state's governor with you.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Petrified Forest, Part 5

The section of Petrified Forest National Park north of Interstate 40 extends into an area called the Painted Desert.  The park's main road includes several places to pull off and view the desert.  I took this picture from Whipple Point.

This shot is from Pintado Point, with Pilot Rock in the background, just right of center.

A short side road leads northward to Chinde Point, from which I took this picture.

This shot is also from Chinde Point, in a direction a bit eastward from that of the picture just above.

The last place I stopped in the park was the Painted Desert Inn, which is a National Historic Landmark in its own right.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Petrified Forest, Part 4

After Newspaper Rock, the next stop on my trip through Petrified Forest National Park was Puerco Pueblo, thought to have been built and occupied by people of the Ancestral Pueblo culture, who were to some extent influenced by Mogollon people living to the south.  Here's part of the largest structure at Puerco Pueblo.

Another section of the same structure.

Near the ruins are some large rocks with some petroglyphs on their surfaces.

Here are a few more.

Puerco Pueblo also includes this smaller structure.

To see more of Puerco Pueblo, go here.  Going north from Puerco Pueblo, the park's main road goes over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks (the old Santa Fe main line) and then over Interstate 40, but there is no interchange.  About 1000 feet north of I-40 is a memorial to historic U.S. 66, which includes some of the old pavement and this Studebaker.

The main road would eventually curve eastward and again meet I-40, where there is an interchange and the northern entrance to the park.  Some sights along this remaining stretch will be shown in the next post, which will be the last one about Petrified Forest.

Petrified Forest, Part 3

After viewing the Crystal Forest and Jasper Forest areas of Petrified Forest National Park, I made a brief stop at Agate Bridge, a petrified tree lying sideways over a ravine.  It has been reinforced with a concrete slab.

I continued northward and made a series of stops in the Blue Mesa area, reached by a road extending eastward from the park's main north-south road.  In this shot, a petrified log sits on top of a light grey hill.

Nearby was another pile of white boulders.

North of Blue Mesa is this area of brown soil, broken up by dry riverbeds.

Some formations in Blue Mesa have multiple layers of different colors, as seen here and here.  They are called the Blue Mesa Badlands.

North of the Blue Mesa turnoff, just off the main road, are the formations known as the Tepees.

The Newspaper Rock area is reached by a short road extending westward from the main road.  It's not a single rock, but a large pile of boulders, some of which have petroglyphs drawn on their surfaces.  This type of rock art was often carved onto dark areas, known as rock varnish.  Near the center of the next shot, there is a dark panel with some markings, but I can't really tell if they are petroglyphs.

Here's another shot that includes a dark rock surface, but it does not have any clearly seen petroglyphs.

In any event, Newspaper Rock in Petrified Forest National Park should not be confused with Newspaper Rock in southeastern Utah.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Petrified Forest, Part 2

After my hike in the Giant Logs and Long Logs areas of Petrified Forest National Park, I continued northward to the Crystal Forest, which likewise includes a trail.  This picture shows a fairly large log, with some visitors walking on the trail in the background.

A bunch of other logs is in the Crystal Forest.

I took this shot from the end of a very long log.

Some of these logs appear to have been thinly sliced.

I thought this one had the most interesting colors.

As I was about to leave the Crystal Forest parking lot, this raven was hanging around.

I proceeded over to an area called the Jasper Forest, which did not include any trails.  Instead, this forest is seen from an overlook.  These rocks are pretty close to the overlook.

Here's the view looking farther away.

Once again, a raven was keeping watch.  Edgar Allan Poe would be proud.

Petrified Forest, Part 1

Petrified Forest National Park is located in eastern Arizona, about 100 miles east of Flagstaff.  The park has one main road, running generally north-south between its two entrances, one off Interstate 40 in the north, the other off U.S. Route 180 in the south.  I entered from the latter.

Near the south entrance is an area called Giant Logs.  In this first photo, it seems that I've unintentionally created some false perspective.  The person who appears to stand on the log is actually in the background.  The log's diameter is only around three or four feet.

Here's a group of logs, on either side of a trail.

Petrified wood isn't the only type of rock featured in the park.  This pile of boulders in the Giant Logs area might be made of white sandstone, a fairly common type of rock in the western United States.

This panoramic shot was taken from the Giant Logs area.

Another group of giant logs.

The Agate House is a partial reconstruction of a structure built by Puebloan Indians, from petrified wood.  It can be reached by a trail leading from the parking lot for the Giant Logs area, and which passes through an area called Long Logs.  This picture shows about half of Agate House.

The rest of Agate House is shown here.

On way back from Agate House, there was another pile of white boulders.

This is part of the Long Logs area, with some multicolored hills in the background.

What A Comet Looks Like Up Close

From the New York Post:

After a 10-year journey aboard the spacecraft Rosetta, the lander Philae touched down on the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and took a picture of its surface.  Although harpoons intended to anchor Philae to the comet did not deploy, it appears to be in a stable position.  The lander has to deal with a problem not experienced with spacecraft sent to larger celestial objects.
Gravity on the comet is 1/100,000th that of Earth, meaning the lander weighs only 0.04 ounces there.
Read the full story, and of course, look at the picture.

UPDATE:  The Guardian has more.

The Holy Cross Chapel

One of Sedona's most famous landmarks is the Holy Cross Chapel, located in the southern part of the city and seemingly perched between two red rock formations.

Above and behind the Chapel are more rock formations, such as these and these.

For more on the Holy Cross Chapel, go here and here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Montezuma Well

Montezuma Well is a unit of the Montezuma Castle National Monument.  As explained in DesertUSA:
Montezuma's Well is a sinkhole, a collapsed underground limestone cavern filled with water. More than a million gallons of water a day flow continuously, providing a lush, verdant oasis in the midst of surrounding desert grassland.
As with the Castle, the Well has nothing to do with the Aztec Emperor.  Instead, as also noted by the DesertUSA link above, the area around the Well was occupied by the Hohokam, the Sinagua, and most recently the Apache.  Arizona Leisure also has some information on Montezuma Well.  For more on the Hohokam, go here.

This view of Montezuma Well is from the southwest.

A small cliff house was built into a niche in the Well's outer wall.

This view of the Well is from the southeast.

Just outside the Well is this house.

One trail in the park leads down to the outlet of the Well, from which water flows through a man-made (or perhaps man-modified) channel.

Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle is neither a castle nor was ever occupied by the famous Aztec emperor, but is a cliff dwelling in central Arizona that was built by Sinagua Indians.  It is now the main feature of its namesake National Monument.  The dwelling occupies a recess within the cliff.  The modern ladders, I would think, are used by park workers.

This shot is from a slightly different angle.

This pic shows more of the right side of the dwelling, and just a bit of the sky above the cliff.

This small cave is in a lower part of the cliff.

At the bottom of the cliff is another structure, known as Castle A.

For more on Montezuma Castle, go here and here.  For more on the Sinagua, go here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

More Hiking In Sedona

Today I found another place to hike, the Brewer Trail, which connects at its west end to a trail that loops around the local airport.  The Brewer Trail is fairly short, only about 0.6 mile one-way, but going west from its east end gains about 200 feet in elevation.  Fortunately, the hiker is rewarded with some gorgeous views.  Here's a rocky outcrop near the trail.

Near the west end of Brewer Trail, I could see western Sedona.

These two hikers went up to the top of this rock.  I think it might be the location of the airport vortex.

Someone made a friendly message from a lot of small stones.

Verde Canyon Railroad - Along The Ride

After we all got on board, the Verde Canyon Railroad train started its course through its namesake canyon.  Although the general direction toward Perkinsville is generally northwestward, the track runs through numerous curves.  As a result, we could often look out the side of our respective coaches to see the front of the train, such as in this shot.

Some of the land near the track is used for cattle ranching.  These cows graze next to the river, or take a drink.

In the next shot, you can see some of the track ahead of us, and some of the basalt cliffs that form sections of the canyon's walls.  We may have been close to a side canyon called S.O.B. Canyon, "S.O.B." standing for "Supervisor Of Bridges", or so we were told.

I don't remember what our guide said the green contraption was, but it was put there by the U.S. Geological Survey.

We arrive at Perkinsville, population 11.  Our guide said that the house seen here is unoccupied.

Here's the Perkinsville station, seen from the west.  The diesels, after detaching and moving around the coaches on a side track, are now attached to the caboose and ready to pull us back to Clarkdale.

On our return trip, we're about to enter the track's one tunnel.  Watch your elbows, guys!

After we got back to Clarkdale, I drove over to Jerome to grab a bite at the Haunted Hamburger.  It's a relatively small place, but the quality and portion size of the food were more than adequate.

Verde Canyon Railroad - At The Station

The Verde Canyon Railroad runs between Clarkdale, Arizona and a working ranch named Perkinsville, a distance of about 20 miles.  The tracks were originally part of a branch line of the Santa Fe Railway, connecting Clarkdale with the SF main line at Drake, and which is now owned by the Arizona Central Railway.  For more information, go to Verde Canyon Railway's official site.

Here's the entrance to the Clarkdale station, as seen from across the street.

This old railcar has been converted into a museum.

In front of a picnic area is a metal statue of a golden eagle, perched on a rail.

These two diesels were at the front of our train.

Some of the passengers wandered down to their cars.

Monday, November 10, 2014

North From Sedona

Going north from Sedona, state highway 89A runs alongside Oak Creek.  About 15 miles north of Sedona, the road goes through a bunch of switchbacks, gaining several hundred feet of elevation in the northward direction.  At the top of the climb is an overlook.  Here's a view back down the canyon.

The next view looks westward and shows a few switchbacks.

This view looks eastward into a side canyon.

After continuing north to Flagstaff, I went west to Williams.  In downtown Williams is the southern terminal of the Grand Canyon Railway.  Here are a few of its coaches.

An old retired steam locomotive stands near the station.

Also near the station is this caboose from the Santa Fe.

Next to the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber building is an old supply wagon.  The steam locomotive seen above is in the background.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Greetings From Sedona

Located in the north-central part of Arizona, Sedona is known for its thriving art community, new age attractions such as vortexes, and its impressive landscape.  The city also includes quite a few trails for hiking, so naturally, I set out to explore one, named Margs Draw.  From a branch trail leading to Margs Draw, I took this picture of a rock formation called Snoopy's Belly.  I don't think I was facing the formation from the perspective where it looks like Snoopy, but I'm assuming that the map is correctly labeled.

From the Margs Draw trail, I got a closer shot of part of Snoopy's Belly.

I was high enough to see across much of Sedona.  This view looks a bit north of westward.

Here are several rock formations north of Sedona.

The north end of my hike afforded me a view of this red rock formation.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Dan Bongino Concedes

Republican candidate Dan Bongino, who ran against incumbent Democrat John Delaney for the House seat from Maryland's 6th District, has conceded the election.  During the counting of absentee ballots, Delaney's small lead saw a slight increase, which caused the Associated Press to declare him the winner.

Bongino is a veteran of the New York City police department and the Secret Service.  Two years ago, he lost his bid to unseat Senator Ben Cardin (D).

Read more at The Baltimore Sun and CBS Baltimore.

Friday Links

As the next weekend approaches, here are some things going on:

From Newsmax, the remains of a typhoon named Nuri bear down on the Aleutian Islands.

From Reboot Illinois, Governor-elect Bruce Rauner (R) gets some advise from both sides.

From the Illinois Mirror, the Republican wave in this year's election "nearly drowned the unions".

From the Washington Examiner, GOP deputy press secretary Raffi Williams faults the NAACP for failing to acknowledge the electoral victories of Congresswoman-elect Mia Love (R-Utah) and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC).  Scott had previously been appointed to replace Senator Jim DeMint (R).

From Reuters, the U.S. official unemployment rate falls to 5.8%.

From Fraud Of The Day, a man in Ohio is sentenced after faking an injury in an attempt file a fraudulent worker's compensation claim.  (Via Watchdog(dot)org)

In National Review, Mona Charen writes about how demonization backfired on the Democrats.

From the Daily Herald, Twitter, Inc. plans to open a headquarters in Hong Kong next year.

From CNM, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) promises "tougher oversight" of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

From ZDNet, an attempt to work without WiFi for a month.

From Investors(dot)com, for the first time, a majority of Americans believe that guns make homes safer.

In Townhall, Katie Pavelich presents the Clintons' dismal election-day scorecard.

From the International Business Times, British muslim Anjem Choudary wishes to leave the United Kingdom and live in territory controlled by ISIS.

From the Mail Online, the vice-principal of a muslim girl's school has been fired for opposing a rule that all students must wear a veil during lessons.  (Via Jihad Watch)

And from Lehigh Valley Live, a flight paramedic originally from Pennsylvania and now living in New York travels to Sierra Leone to serve as a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

French Farmers Protest By Dumping Manure

(H/T RegularRon, who Tweeted this story.)

When French farmers give you crap, they literally give you crap.  From the Mail Online:
Revolting French farmers dumped hundreds of tonnes of manure and rotten vegetables on the streets as well as spraying a council water treatment office with slurry in a major day of protest.
Members of the French Farmers Union (FNSEA) and the Young Farmers Union (YA) held demonstrations over worsening food prices as well as increases in the cost of fertiliser.
Farmers complain that sanctions with Russia over the ongoing Ukrainian crisis has led to collapse in the price of cereal, milk and grain.
During one protest in Chatres, south west of Paris, farmers dumped 100 tonnes of manure along with rotting vegetables outside the offices of the agriculture department as well as the town hall.
Read the full story, and if you're not too easily grossed out, look at the pictures.

Republicans Take The Senate

As was generally expected, the Republican Party was very successful in yesterday's midterm elections, including a takeover of the Senate, even while several seats have still not been officially decided.  Some news on various Senate, House and gubernatorial elections:

In the 6th House district of Maryland, challenger Dan Bongino (R) narrowly trails incumbent John Delaney (D).  The State Board of Elections reports 5,847 absentee ballots, which will be counted starting tomorrow.  Maryland's seven other representatives, only one of whom is a Republican, have been reelected.

In the Maryland governor's race, Larry Hogan (R) has pulled a "stunning upset" over Anthony Brown (D).

Hogan is not the only Republican to win the governorship in a heavily blue state.  In Massachusetts, Charlie Baker (R) defeated Martha Coakley (D), who recently lost a Senate seat to Scott Brown.

In yet another blue state, the governor's race in Illinois has gone to Bruce Rauner (R) over incumbent Pat Quinn (D).

In New York's 21st district, 30-year-old Elise Stefanik (R) has become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, defeating Aaron Wolf (D) by 22 points.  She will replace Bill Owens (D), who is retiring.  She is also the first Republican to win in that district since 1990.

In West Virginia, Shelley Capito (R) defeated Natalie Tennant (D) for the Senate seat now held by Jay Rockefeller (D), which will give the state its first Republican senator in about 55 years; and Saira Blair (R), an 18-year-old student at West Virginia University, has won a seat in the state's legislature.  Blair will become the youngest state lawmaker in the entire country.

In Virginia, incumbent Senator Mark Warner (D) leads Ed Gillespie (R) by about 12,000 votes.  Warner has also served as Virginia's governor.  Gillespie has previously worked for various Republican candidates and as the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

In North Carolina, Thom Tillis (R) has narrowly defeated incumbent Kay Hagan (D).  Tillis is currently the Speaker of the state's House of Representatives.

In Florida, the incumbent governor Rick Scott (R) has defeated former governor (and former Republican) Charlie Crist (D).

As expected, Greg Abbott (R) easily defeated Wendy Davis (D) in the Texas governor's race, and Senator John Cornyn (R) won reelection.  George P. Bush (R), son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, won the race for Land Commissioner.  (I regret to inform anyone not already aware that there indeed is a third George Bush.)

In Utah's 4th district, Mia Love (R) has become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress, narrowly defeating Doug Owens (D).  Love lost in her first bid for the seat two years ago.

In Colorado, Cory Gardner (R) defeated incumbent Mark Udall (D), the first time since 1978 that a sitting Colorado senator has been ousted.

In Iowa, Joni Ernst (R) defeated Bruce Braley (D) for the Senate seat of Tom Harkin (D), who is retiring.  Ernst is currently in the Iowa Senate, and will become the first female U.S. Senator from Iowa and the first female veteran in the Senate's history.  Braley unsuccessfully risked his seat in the House.

In Louisiana, the Senate race between incumbent Mary Landrieu (D) and Bill Cassidy (R) will go to a runoff on December 6th, since no candidate pulled in over 50% of the vote.  Cassidy is a physician and currently represents Louisiana's 6th district in the House.

Monday, November 3, 2014

One World Trade Center Opens

Thirteen years after the 9/11 attacks destroyed the Twin Towers, and after eight years of construction, One World Trade Center opened for business today.  The new building is the tallest in the United States, comprises 104 stories, and cost $3.8 billion to construct.

Read more at the New York Post, the Daily News, BBC News, Yahoo News and Newser.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nik Wallenda Performs Two Tightrope Walks In Chicago

Nik Wallenda, a member of a multi-generational family of daredevils, successfully completed two tightrope walks in Chicago, each starting from the west tower of the Marina City Towers.  The first was over the Chicago River to a building on the other side.  The second was from the west tower to the east tower, which he performed while blindfolded.

Read more at Fox News, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sgt. Tahmooressi Released

Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, after spending 214 days in a Mexican jail, has been released, reportedly on humanitarian grounds because he has suffered from PTSD.  Treatment for PTSD was not available in Mexican prison.  Tahmooressi has been flown to Florida, where his family lives.

Read more at Fox News, The Blaze and U~T San Diego.