Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii, Days Four and Five

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii, Days Four and Five

By Day Four, we had gotten well into the routine of morning and afternoon lectures, broken up by an awesome breakfast buffet, walks on the deck when the weather permitted, lunch by the window, and just relaxing in the stateroom.  Most of the time, it was too windy and cold on the deck to sit outside much, which was a disappointment.

Day Four began with a walk out on the Promenade Deck 7, with my camera, around 7AM.

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This is the view off the starboard bow.

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Isn’t this just the Deep Blue Sea?  I really could not get over how blue the water was in the North Pacific.  Achingly Blue.

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Look!  You can see the curvature of the earth!

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This is part of the mechanism that lifts lifeboats into and out of the water.  I took a bunch of pictures of all the equipment on board that is there to ensure that everyone gets off alive in the event of a disaster.

The first lecture of the morning was by historian and journalist John Steele Gordon, who spoke about the economy under Obama, and under Trump.  He spoke to a rapt audience, and took spirited questions later.

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Next came Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal columnist, discussing the US, Israel, and the fate of my Jewish people.

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The final morning speaker was our friend Michael Walsh, whom we met on the Alaska cruise in 2016, and had dinner with on this cruise on the first evening.  His talk was on Politics and the Arts, about which he writes in his newest book The Fiery Angel.  Walsh is a delightful guy, and we met him and his delightful wife, Kate, often in our strolls around the ship, mostly after dinner at the Avenue Saloon.

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After lunch, was the lecture we’d all been waiting for.  Michael Ramirez, political cartoonist, spoke and showed pictures from his book “Give Me Liberty or Give Me ObamaCare”, which was a riot.  He had his audience laughing and groaning in turns.Ramirez0718

Mild-mannered-looking gentleman, but his wit is biting, and he knows just where to hit Liberals.

In the afternoon after the last lecture, I again walked the deck looking for likely pictures.

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My readers will know my love of clouds, and I sure found some beautiful ones on this cruise.

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Oh, yeah, and there’s the Pool Deck, where many passengers spent hours getting a tan.  See that gazebo on the left?  They had a band playing there in the afternoon.

The big lecture attraction of Day Five was Patrick Caddell, the self-described Democrat pollster, opining on what has happened to the Democratic Party.  I have already done one post on his talk, and I can’t really say much more, except that his lecture brought down the house.  He got rousing applause often during his speeches.  He deserved it!

We also heard from Roger Kimball again, and Victor Davis Hanson, who spoke on the Second World Wars.  This was in preparation for our arrival in Honolulu, home of Pearl Harbor.  Mr. Hanson spoke without notes, which was very impressive.

I admit that I took my camera to all the lectures, and sometimes I’d just point it at something in the room and snap.  The Galaxy Lounge was the place all the Broadway shows were staged, and I was intrigued by the complex lighting arrangement on the ceiling.

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Late on this day, things started to get stormy outside, and we hit some fairly rough seas.  I said many times during this voyage that we were getting great balance practice!  It’s a wonder more people didn’t fall when the ship was pitching and rolling around.   When was the last time you took a shower on a moving vehicle?  That’s an experience in itself!

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Looked at from this angle (looking down from our veranda to the Promenade Deck below), the water looks almost black.  Isn’t light wonderful?  That’s the last of Day Five.

Congratulations to My Hero

Congratulations to My Hero

On August 1, Rush Limbaugh celebrated the Thirtieth Year of EIB Excellence in Broadcasting.  Nearly singlehandedly, Rush Limbaugh started the revolution in Political Talk Radio, and he maintains it to this day.  For thirty years, he has spent three hours each weekday speaking to the American public about events and people who make America work, and about the politicians and organizations who hamper that work.

I started listening to Rush in 2001, when my boyfriend (now husband) turned on the radio in the car on our way out to dinner.  My first exclamation was “You’re not going to make me listen to Rush Limbaugh?!”; back then, I believed all his many detractors in the liberal media.  Well, I have to tell you that it only took about 15 minutes to change my mind.  Listening to his monologue turned out to be the best commentary on modern life that I had ever heard.  And he was funny, to boot!  I was totally hooked, and became a regular listener.

I was fortunate to be able to get on his show in August of 2005, and spoke to the Great One on the radio.  I was impressed by how gracious a host he was, and we carried on a spirited conversation.  He also was pleased to hear how I had become a listener.  That was a smashing experience for me, and I cherish the memory.

So, here’s to the next Thirty Years for My Hero, Rush Limbaugh!

Guest Author on Calling-all-RushBabes-Trolling in Downtown Seattle?

Guest Author on Calling-all-RushBabes-Trolling in Downtown Seattle?

My hubby has done an absolutely hilarious post over at Ricochet, and I just had to let my followers here see it.  The new mayor of Seattle is seriously considering imposition of “congestion pricing” to discourage people from driving into the city in their own automobiles, and “reduce vehicle emissions” to counter “climate change” (as if one city can have even a tiny effect on “climate change”!!)  This will make you laugh out loud!

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I couldn’t resist passing on this news item, inspired by Seattle Times staff reporter David Gutman.

Seattle will develop a plan to troll city roadways as part of its efforts to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse-gas emissions, Mayor said Tuesday.

Details of what such a plan might look like are sparse, and will hinge on a trolling study focused on downtown neighborhoods that should have initial results later this year.

While several foreign cities use broad congestion-trolling schemes to reduce car and foot travel in their most-clogged downtown areas, no American city has established a similar widespread trolling system.

The mayor said she was hopeful a congestion-trolling system could be in place by the end of her first term, in 2021.

The mayor had said during her campaign last fall that the city should explore congestion trolling.

Seattle could implement trolling within the city without the permission of the state Legislature, but it would almost certainly require the approval of city voters.

In 2015, 56 percent of Puget Sound-area voters said systemwide trolling was a bad or very bad idea, according to a poll from the Puget Sound Regional Council.

Congestion trolling can take a number of forms, and it’s unclear which the city may pursue.

Hiring both homeless and introducing unwanted smartphone internet traffic to pester motorists and pedestrians on more heavily trafficked streets and byways would discourage rush-hour car, foot and bicycle traffic and would be employed as a form of congestion trolling. Electronic trolling of airwaves would jam normal internet access and replace expected internet traffic with offensive advertisements and social media attacks.

Similarly, so-called cordon trolling, where a heavily trafficked area (think downtown and South Lake Union) is virtually “cordoned” off, and trolls and electronic trolling are employed at the entrances to an area.

New York City has been discussing cordon trolling in Manhattan, without taking action, for more than a decade.

Congestion trolling is being proposed as part of a push to cut the city’s greenhouse-gas emissions and reduce economic activity. Seattle’s four previous mayors have all tried, and mostly failed, to reduce the city’s carbon output, as a booming population has offset decreases in per-person emissions.

Transportation is responsible for about two-thirds of Seattle’s greenhouse-gas emissions, and most of the mayor’s proposed changes focus on that sector.

The mayor also wants to make Seattle much more hospitable to electric cars. She said she will introduce legislation requiring that new developments (or renovations) that build parking also include electric-vehicle charging stations and would contain key software and hardware to defeat electronic trolling, at least until the city becomes overrun with electronic cars.

Decreases in tax revenues as a result of congestion trolling would be used to decrease transit service throughout the city and thereby reduce greenhouse-gas emissions further.

“We want to make it more uncomfortable for people to drive and walk downtown so they won’t want to come here,” she said. “We as a city and as a region have to make real on the promise of reduced emissions and commercial activity.”

The mayor’s radical climate action plan, spurred along by the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, also aims to develop programs to decrease building energy use around the city by discouraging commercial activity.

“If our country is going to do anything significant on climate, the leadership has to come from states and cities,” the mayor said.

Actual tolling is already coming to downtown Seattle, with the opening of the Highway 99 tunnel, scheduled for later this year. But the state Transportation Commission continues to struggle deciding how much to toll and when to start tolling.

Whatever price the agency settles on, the tolls will cause some drivers to skip the tunnel, pushing more cars onto already suffocating downtown streets, creating increased demands on trolling to manage congestion.

That’s why, last year, the City Council authorized $200,000 to study the effects of the tunnel’s tolls and to explore congestion trolling in Seattle.

“The study would focus on the broader equity implications of congestion trolling in Seattle (particularly who is driving, bicycling and/or walking and at what times) and explore options, such as the idea of trolling downtown Seattle exits, to ensure that downtown homeless continue to have enough room to move around and find places to camp reliably,” the proposal for the study said.

City Councilperson, who proposed the study, said last fall the city was “a long ways” from considering congestion trolling but that the study would be useful information to have when that discussion did happen.

His office said Tuesday that the study would likely be put out for bid in the next couple of weeks and they hope for initial findings by October.

Durkan said that study would be the “starting point” for a plan on congestion trolling, “looking exactly where those corridors are where it makes sense both from a city betterment project and a greenhouse gas project.”

Seattle has studied congestion trolling previously.

A 2003 study by the Puget Sound Regional Council found that regionwide variable trolling — employing varying numbers of trolls on all major roads at different times — “could make excessive reoccurring congestion a thing of the past.”

A 2009 study, commissioned by the city, recommended trolls as a way to lower the city’s greenhouse- gas emissions, deal with congestion and decrease revenue.

And, while not anything like trolling, the state is currently studying a tax on every mile driven, as a way to replace the gas tax.

Foreign cities that have implemented widespread trolling — London, Stockholm and Milan are prominent examples — have generally faced public opposition that faded away after the system was put in place and traffic congestion decreased. And the homeless people were much happier.

“Roadway trolling tends to poll poorly,” Matthew Gibson, an economist at Williams College who has studied trolling, said in an interview last year. “After people experience it for a while, support tends to increase.”

New York City is the only other American city to look seriously at congestion trolling, but it has repeatedly backed away.

Just last week, New York legislators agreed on a budget that did not include Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s much-discussed proposal for imposition of nearly 12 trolls to drive into midtown Manhattan.