A meandering blog with no clear topic. You will find me talking about knitting, building, kids, social and economic issues, Alaska, and lots of other stuff.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tolerance ... and Proposition 8

As most people probably know by now, Proposition 8 is the initiative that was passed in California on Election Day that provides that marriage can only be between a man and woman. Lots of people are very upset that it passed, and there have been lots of protests. There have been several protests outside the LDS temple in Los Angeles. I am sure that part of the reason is that the church supported the passage of Prop 8. Here are some pics:

I can't get the pictures to line up well, but you get the idea. These photos were taken at a protest outside the LA temple. The gay rights movement is constantly asking for tolerance. If these pics are any indication, I think they are sadly lacking in a trait they demand from everyone else.
When you consider that only between 2 and 5 percent of the voters in California are Mormon, the vote clearly did not ride solely on the Mormon vote. And if most Mormons voted for Prop 8, so what anyway? Aren't we all supposed to vote for what we think is right, regardless of whether other people will like it?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Election repercussions?

I had an interesting thing happened yesterday. James and I went to a local gun store, and got to chatting with one of the owners. He told us something interesting. In a normal week, he sells 1000 to 2000 rounds of ammunition. In the last week since the election, he has sold over 80,000 rounds. That is many times what he sells in a normal week. Turns out, people are saying they are worried that once Barack Obama is in office, he will immediately start restricting gun rights. Some people are even saying they think he will sign an executive order his first day in office outlawing guns.

I think that is ridiculous. First of all, you have to consider the second amendment to the constitution. As everyone should know, this guarantees the rights of individuals to bear arms. It takes major effort and time to repeal a constitutional amendment, and it would never pass. Secondly, with the recent ruling from the Supreme Court that strongly supports gun rights, he would be fighting an uphill battle to actually create a gun ban that would not be struck down by the Supreme Court. Third, he is a brand new president coming into office already facing many challenges. I really don't think he would want to alienate large numbers of Americans by pushing a gun ban, when he has much bigger fish to fry, such as the economy and health care, that he enjoys huge support for. He will gain political capital by working on those issues, and can only lose it by banning guns.

I don't think we have to worry just yet about losing our guns, but people are sure acting like it. Alaska is already armed to the teeth, but in the last week, gun and sportsmen's shops have all but sold out of guns and ammo.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


So, the bishop of our ward happens to own a log cabin business. In addition to providing full cabin packages, one of his other products is siding. This siding is made from logs that are sliced lengthwise, so that we have 10' long slices of log that are an inch thick. The slices of log are nailed in two overlapping layers along the sides of the house. The siding isn't done, but two walls are completely done, and the third wall is more than halfway sided. It should be completely done in the next few days, except for the tops of the gable ends. We haven't completely decided yet what we will do there, although James is leaning towards galvanized corrugated metal. The next project will be to weatherize the wood. We decided not to paint because we want to keep the wood appearance. So we will most likely do a colored penetrating stain, that adds some color but allows the texture and grain of the wood to shine through.

We like this siding for several reasons. It is rustic in appearance, in keeping with the character of the entire cabin. It is a local product, made from Alaskan logs that are milled less than 5 miles from my house. And buying it helps a friend.

The last two reasons are especially important from my perspective. It is important to us that we were able to use local products, and we wish it would have been feasible to do this with the entire cabin. If we had wanted a log cabin, we could have done much more of it with local materials, but that wasn't what we wanted, as 8 inch log walls only have a R10 insulation value. With economic problems becoming more severe, and oil depletion quickly becoming a looming issue, it is absolutely vital that local products be used as often as possible, in part to cut down on the distance things are shipped, and in part because I believe it will soon become necessary to rely on local products for many items that will become not worth shipping, so we need those businesses to stay open.

In addition, there is the issue of helping someone I know. Community building is critical with the economic struggles our nation is facing. In times of economic crises, people depend on the people they know for support. Studies have shown that the people that best weathered the Soviet collapse had networks of friends, neighbors, etc outside of the main economic system that they relied upon. If things get worse, and I very much suspect they will, those community ties will become critically important. I buy siding from my friend. Maybe I will give some raspberry jam from next year's harvest to a friend. That friend may drive my kid to school. And so on. And if we all help each other, we will get by much better than each family struggling to do it all. And in the process, develop those social ties that are important on an emotional level as well. That friend that gave you a bushel of potatoes may be the person you call on the phone when your camel's back has been broken by that last straw, maybe something major like a foreclosure, maybe something little like a draining day with quarrelling children, and you just need someone to talk to. And maybe they may turn to you for something big, like space on the floor to sleep if their heat breaks in the middle of winter, or they run out of heating oil, and the barge doesn't come back til spring.

So, yeah, I have siding on my house :)