Thursday, September 28, 2006

Images of me near end of my 2006 bicycle tour

Leslie took this shot of me as we were eating in an outdoor cafe in Santa Barbara.

Saying goodby to Leslie after a nice visit.

Still working on the pages around doing other things, like work for instance. Yes, I earn a living, working as a custodian. Time to think about what I plan to write.

Meanwhile I was interviewed on the radio. A show called Around The World on KZSB in Santa Barbara. Show will be rebroadcast again at 10 AM Saturday Sept. 23. The segment about my trip is at the end of the hour around 10:50. Anyway, it's 1290 AM from Santa Barbara and on the listen live link at Also syndicated some places, including stations in Australia.

Even if you see this and miss my interview, it seems like that station has a lot of interesting and locally produced shows. Not like so many stations that turn out to be just local transmitters for the big national shows.

I remember, back in the 1980s, when it seemed like all one could get on the radio was "Talk Net," with Bruce Williams. He was all up and down the dial from all over, including here in Bellingham.

Anyway, that was the 1980s, now it's today, with more and more Internet and media diversity, in terms of programming at least, all the time.

Above photo is me, taken by my friend Leslie, who brought his bike up to Santa Barbara on the Surfliner Train. He came up from Los Angeles for dinner. Image was taken at a Santa Barbara bike path.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Walmart Expansion in Bellingham?

Some say, "let the market decide."

If the market were like me, Walmart would not be a lucrative business. I've never been to a Walmart, basically because I don't drive.

Walmart is not easy to get to, for me. No, I am not even boycotting that corporation. Maybe I should check out a Walmart, someday, just to see what it's about. On the other hand, who wants to bike through all that traffic!

If people were less addicted to their cars, the market would behave differently. Walmarts cater to parking and freeway exits. If those things were less crucial, in a business plan, even mighty Walmart would be different.

Bellingham City Council has passed a temporary moratorium on large retail development in the city. Sort of a cooling off period as Walmart plans to expand it's local store into "super store" status.

Many support the moratorium, but others say it was a bad move. Some fear the corporation could just relocate in Ferndale. Others are dubious about the council's foray into what they feel should be a market driven choice.

I don't have a strong opinion either "pro" or "anti" moratorium.

Some feel that as long as the expansion is in an area that has already been "trashed" by sprawling retail, don't worry. Bellingham's Meridian area is already "strip mall city." At least it isn't devouring more prime farmland.

Also the city and Walmart can, and have worked out some deals that could improve circulation in the area, if the store were built. Like extending Deamer St. (I think).

One problem that "Meridian Strip" faces is a lot of "dead end" suburban streets that just lead to the hopeless and traffic clogged arteries. Attempts to retrofit the area into something closer to a gridiron street pattern, with more streets going through, could help a little, at least.

Still, if less people were addicted to their cars, things would be different. If the marketplace was driven by pedestrians and bicyclists, the city council would not have to go out on the "politically unsafe limb" of moratorium land.

Market economists might say that the people vote for Walmart with their feet. Problem, they are not voting with their feet, they are voting with their cars.

Folks, you just got to cut back on your car use if you want a better world.

As for Walmart's lack of health insurance for employees?

A very common problem in all of the retail / service sector; even the beloved "mom and pop's."

We need something like "single payer" health insurance basically handled by the state.

Big changes need to come in the way people live and do business on many levels.

Comment on Walmart Superstore, Richland, WA.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Obligatory 911 comment

Tomorrow is the 5 year anniversary, but I think there is too much fanfare over these events. Notoriety and glory is one thing that the terrorists want.

Last Friday, I heard a great interview on KUOW's Conversation show with the author of a new book called "What Terrorists Want," by Louise Richardson.

It sounds like one of the big things they want is notoriety.

Maybe we should shuffle news of these crimes onto the back pages. Shuffle the news behind stories about many more lives that are lost each year to drunk drivers, for instance. Don't give terrorists so much notoriety.

Just let the CIA, Military, FBI, and so forth, quietly do their jobs catching these perpetrators.

It seems like our President has been taken over by terrorists. This is the Presidency that is defined by 911. Bush plans to travel to Ground Zero, Lay reefs, also head to Pennsylvania for that plane crash. It seems like every time Bush opens his mouth, it's about 911 and reaction to terrorism.

Why is he wasting so much of his time, and energy? What about affordability of health care?

Of course, Republicans are usually not very good at putting effort into a domestic issues. Republicans usually talk about getting the government out of domestic affairs. Reduce government so the Walmarts can take over.

Did I say Walmarts, or should I say the marketplace?

Leaving domestic affairs up to "market forces."

It is Republicans who focus on foreign affairs and national defense issues. Democrats are the ones who to get the urban transit systems going. Democrats discuss issues like affordable housing and health care; what ever attempts to make the lives of ordinary Americans work.

We need transit systems to help us become less dependent on that volatile Middle East, for oil.

Will our reaction to terrorism destroy us? Bankrupt us? Distract us from the things we really need to do for energy independence and security?

Maybe we should relegate terrorist crimes to the back pages where they belong. Put them behind the murderers and drunk drivers who take more lives each year.

Would I display a flag for 911?


I would rather display the flag for something positive, like the anniversary of Americans landing on the moon.

Can someone do more stories about the Apollo PAC for clean energy?