I'm back in Washington, sitting in the library in the small town of Sultan, just a short drive away from Index. It's not sunny out, but I could be climbing if I didn't have so much writing work to do. However, I am not complaining. Life is good. I'm enjoying the company of Index local, Chris Henson. Hopefully this afternoon, after I get some articles done, we'll head over to the crag for a few pitches. I'll try to get some photos of the splitters over there. We head back down to Indian Creek, UT, later next week, hopefully after two sunny, gorgeous days of climbing at Index. Then, October 10 I'll be back in Colorado. Yay! OK, back to work.
Someone sent this to me (pasted below my note). I find it interesting. I don't know who Tim Wise is, but I think he makes some good points. On another note: Sarah Palin's potential/future son in law sounds like a real winner. I feel sorry for her daughter.
In re: Sarah. I'm not sure I understand how anyone could possibly think this woman is qualified to be the vice president? And do women really see her as being a good representative for women? I understand that a conservative Christian might approve of her perspective on teaching creationism in schools and anti-abortion, but even still, what foreign policy experience does she have? She has far less than even Barack Obama! But Barack at least chose a vice president who does have extensive experience. Sigh. This is a very scary time in the United States.
September 13, 2008, 2:01 pm By Tim Wise
For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.
White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.
White privilege is when you can call yourself a "fuckin' redneck," like Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their fuckin' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot shit" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.
White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.
White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don't all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you're "untested."
White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it's good enough for me," and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn't added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.
White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.
White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was "Alaska first," and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she's being disrespectful.
White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you're being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you're somehow being mean, or even sexist.
White privilege is being able to convince white women who don't even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a "second look."
White privilege is being able to fire people who didn't support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.
White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God's punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you're just a good church-going Christian, but if you're black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you're an extremist who probably hates America.
White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O'Reilly means you're dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced. White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a "light" burden.
And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren't sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it's just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…White privilege is, in short, the problem.
I'm home again, and it's lovely. The weather in the NW was beautiful, and the terrain lush and full of exotic smells and flavors. I picked blackberries every few days and deeply enjoyed the huge variety and large size of the trees, bushes and flowers. But when I arrived home and explored my garden I discovered tomatoes, a hundred or so hot peppers of all types, bright, rich raspberries and a patch of chives that looks like an overgrown lawn. I spent the morning weeding and pulling all my sunflowers out. Though some are still flowering and beautiful, I realized this morning that all the agastache and other natives I planted have suffered from the lack of sunlight because of the bush-like sunflowers. Thus, I stripped and pulled out roots and threw the whole mess into the back yard, where I hope they will reseed and overwhelm the landscape (just in the backyard) next summer. I have gone back and forth between mulching my entire backyard and leaving it one big mess of weeds. I'm going to mulch part of it, but I think I'll seed a huge section of it with those sunflowers, only because I love so much to look at them. OK, off to work. I have just three hours before my friends Alison and Dan get married. I'm so excited for this wedding. They are good friends and really beautiful people. Plus, they are just deeply in love. I love watching happy people get married. What a nice day it is to be alive.
Walk into Estes Park’s The Wine & Cheese bar on Elkhorn Avenue, and you’ll find elegant table settings, deep, rich colors and people murmuring at a dozen tables for two and four (and one for six to eight). The place is often packed, and since I’ve been there more than a half dozen times I’ve regularly seen repeat customers. You can either sit at the bar (which is a nice thing to do with one other person) or at one of the charming tables, which are better suited for a longer stay.
It’s easy to spend hours at this wine bar. On my last trip, I visited with two writer/editor friends, and we drank five flights of wine (a flight consists of three two-oz. samples of any wine on the menu and are $11 apiece) and ordered a fantastic cheese plate, which was of the highest quality and very reasonably priced. For just $34 you can get the Melange Platter – a huge, beautifully arranged plate with three cheeses, two meats, dried fruits, an assortment of breads, olives and crackers. We chose a fine cheddar, gruyere, a brie and a few other creamy, delightful imported cheeses the names of which I cannot recall at the moment (I stopped taking notes on flight number three).
I know very little about wine, but that night, with the help of our knowledgeable waitress, we learned how the taste of individual wines change according to what you are eating. The flavors literally change as you are eating the different foods. My favorite white wine was the Bloom Riesling, which the waitress said is a local favorite. It has a hint of pear, grapefruit and honeysuckle. I also really enjoyed the Las Brisas, a refreshing peachy Spanish blend of Verdejo, Sauv Blanc and Viura. I also loved the not too sweet Crios Rosé De Malbec, which is from Mendoza, Argentina. As far as the reds go, there were many delicious types that we tried, including the Chateau D'Aigueville Cotes du Rhone, “an earthy blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre from the Southern part of France.”
To top off the evening, we had the absolutely to-die-for Belgian sipping chocolate and accompanying truffles. Both the sipping chocolate (which is constantly being churned in mixer type machine) and the truffles couldn’t have been more perfect.
With its quiet music and attentive but not annoying wait staff, the restaurant encourages patrons to spend hours conversing. Plus, though you could get away with wearing a nice dress and heals (i.e. the setting is graceful), customers just back from hiking in the mountains are equally welcomed. And, when you’re done with your dinner, check out the accompanying wine shop next door, where you can buy a bottle of any of the wines you tried. The selection is superb, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable. I walked out of there with a few $10 bottles (the Bloom is just $9.50). I highly recommend this wine bar. It is one of the nicest food establishments I have been to on the Front Range. I wish they hadn’t opened a year after I moved away from Estes Park.
Thank gawd we finished the roofing job today. I have climbed just one day in the past ten because this roofing job kicked my butt. I now have a new respect for construction workers. I don't know how the heck they can regularly carry 85-pound bags up shaky metal ladders, walk along steep roofs, and work with sharp objects all day.
Today I rolled my ankle while carrying two trash cans full of 60-year-old cedar shingles, and had to sit down for a bit. Then, as soon as I got up and started carrying the dang things again I managed to ram my head into a sharp object sticking out of the giant trash bin we were dumping the shingles into. I ended up with a large bump on my head that I promptly hit again just an hour later. A few hours after that I jammed my hand on a rusty nail. At that point, Chris Henson (the guy who employed me) suggested that I sweep the deck off and stop carrying things. I think he began to worry about liability issues.
Tomorrow I head off to Bend, OR, to hang out with the Podclimber.com folks for a few days. They are going to train me how to make podcasts and videos. If we can find sponsors, I'll do a show for them. It sounds like fun. I hope I'm better at podcasting than I am at roofing.
Today I visited my friend Chris Henson's sweet little sport crag, The Lonely Planet Wall, a small schist crag tucked away in some of the clear cut mountain terrain around Index. The warm-up routes were a bit dirty, covered with moss and pine needles, but the routes on the main wall were excellent sport climbs, about 60 or 70 feet tall, steep and with lots of jugs. We had a fantastic afternoon running through the routes. The stone is steep and pumpy, but it feels safe because Chris did an excellent job bolting the routes. The area is neat because though much of it is clear cut, this little crag is totally hidden among a small grouping of fairly large trees--50, 60 years old... I'm not sure. The bases were wide enough I wouldn't be able to get my arms around them. It was quiet (except for the tweens shooting guns down the road), and on our way out the moon was just rising huge in the sky, yellowed like an old photograph and cradled in a curvature of mountain ridges. Stunning day all around.
I'm still at Index, though I haven't actually climbed since last Saturday because I've spent the last three days tearing an old cedar-shingled roof apart and cleaning up the debris. I'm not sure I'll be able to climb for the next day or two because my body feels terrible.
It's still sunny and gorgeous here in Washington. I'm sitting in a Library watching people walk by. They can't see me, but I can see them looking at themselves in the mirrored window. One girl, who carried a purple stuffed animal, walked by and made a pouty, sexy face to herself and then smiled, while another stopped for five or ten seconds and pretended as if she wasn't looking at herself, but she was. Then a group of boys draped in chains strutted by, stealing quick glances.
Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.
By Gloria Steinem
September 4, 2008
Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.
But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.
Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."
This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.
Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."
She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.
So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.
Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.
I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.
So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.
Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest.
Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women.
And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.
This could be huge.
Gloria Steinem is an author, feminist organizer and co-founder of the Women's Media Center. She supported Hillary Clinton and is now supporting Barack Obama.
Creationism should be taught in schools. In other words, she believes that the world began 5,000 years ago.
Believes God is behind the war in Iraq. "Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right ... that our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God" (Holy War against Muslims?)
3. Maverick Pork Cutter
She was for the $250 million bridge to nowhere before she was against it.
She was for "earmarks" before she was against them. She got $27 million in federal earmarks for Wasilla while mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.
Under investigation by State Legislature for potential abuse of authority in trying to get her former brother in law, a state trooper fired and firing the state's Public Safety Commissioner for not taking her orders. ABC News 9/10/08.
Received a "per diem" expense allowance for 312 nights she spent at her home in Wasilla. Totalled $17,059 at $60-a-day. New York Times, 9/10/08. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/us/politics/10billing.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper&oref=slogin
5. America First
Her husband was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, which favors a vote on whether the state should secede, and she had addressed its annual convention. New York Times, 8/7/08
I'm still climbing at Index. I'm in love, totally, with the steep granite cracks that line the wall. They are awesome, beautiful. I am so happy climbing them. I was in a photo shoot yesterday. I led a stellar 5.11b (for the second time) called "Thin Fingers" and a beautiful 5.10 called "Tartoosh." I bowed out of posing on the 12 a/b they wanted me to try because I can't do it clean yet. I feel silly posing on something I can't do. The photos are for an article for Climbing Mag. Who knows if they'll get in. If they do, I'll finally have something to show off to mom and dad. I'm planning on being here for a few more weeks, and then I'm heading down to Oregon to climb at Trout Creek and to train with the Podclimber folks. Hopefully I'll start working with them soon. We shall see. Here's an article I wrote for the newspaper on Index.
A visit to Index, Washington
By Lizzy Scully
Nestled in Eastern Snohomish County, along the rocky, green-tinged Skykomish River is the small town of Index. Named for the imposing, 5,950-foot peak, Mount Index, named by Mrs. Persis Gunn, one of the original homesteaders in the area, the town is home to fewer than 200 people. It's a small kayaking, fishing and rafting Mecca, and it's a destination for rock climbers from throughout the country and a testing ground for Washington State's strongest climbers. According to long-time Index climber and five-year local Chris Henson, this area "offers the best hard steep granite in the state. If you climb difficult routes at Index for a season you can climb anywhere else in that country at that grade." It's why the 38-year-old eventually bought a house here. He has established about 15 routes and regularly maintains and upgrades the fixed bolts that were established as early as the 1960s.
The area is so difficult, added local climber Mikey Schafer, that he took a huge whipper (i.e. fall) on a route called the "Great Northern Slab" when he was age 14 and didn't come back for years. "This is some of the most intimidating, stoutest rock climbing on the West Coast, and it's one of the scariest places to learn," he explained. "It's a terrible place to be a beginner." On the other hand, he added, "it is really beautiful and the rock is really high quality."
The valley is bordered on the southwest by the steep, vegetated peaks of Mount Persis and Mount Index. Across from those peaks are the world-class granite crags of Index Rocks. These large 200- to 600-foot walls have kept climbers busy since the 1960s. Early climbers include the famous new route developer Fred Beckey, who has put hundreds of routes up around the United States and still climbs at age 80. Beckey put up the locally famous route "Town Crier," in 1966, which is just one of dozens of artificial aid climbing routes in the area. Aid climbers ascended the walls by banging pitons (or pins) into cracks, and then attaching carabiners to those pitons and then webbing ladders to those carabiners. Because the walls are so steep, climbers were unable to free climb the routes--free climbing means climbing without pulling on equipment, but rather using it only as protection.
"On almost every good route here you're climbing piton scars," Henson explained. Free climbing efforts followed in the 1970s, and as technical equipment improved, the difficulty of new routes established increased exponentially.
Henson has established some of the area's hard routes, including his favorite, "Wildest Dreams," a multi-pitch (pitches range from 50- to 150-feet) crack on the upper wall. "I didn't know the crack was even there under the moss, but after months of scrubbing and digging I found this beautiful super thin crack," he said. "The climbing was sustained and difficult." And just being on the upper wall is awesome, he added.
"I watched this one falcon fly for the first time from up there," he stated. And there was the time he was on a ledge, and he watched another falcon take off from the wall, do a tuck and hurtle down toward the river toward a Bald Eagle that was fishing. Right before the falcon was about to hit the eagle, the eagle turned upside down and the two raptors fought. "It was amazing," Henson said.
"It's remote feeling, even though it's a busy place," he explained of Index and the surrounding rocks and mountains. "Within ten minutes you can have a crag to yourself. It feels really wild here." Index is also a place with a tight community, where neighbors check in on each other and where climbers gather at different homes for potlucks and parties.
For Henson and the other climbers, kayakers and rafters who reside here, this place is home. It's a place where, said Henson, he can "foster creative energy" and where he can nest". There's no place I'd rather be," he stated.