Archive for the ‘sequestration’ Tag

Making Sequestration Painful?   Leave a comment

This is either another example of bad reporting or the federal government manipulating reporters to make something unrelated to sequestration appear related so people will complain.

The wildlife interpreters on Alaska’s Marine Highways are federal employees. There’s never been any federal funds actually given to the State to hire naturalists. The State of Alaska provides free room and board in exchange for the services of federal employees. Occasionally, interpreters would be “bumped” because of high demand for cabins, but the AMHS would hold the interpreter cabins for them until all other cabins were taken. As AMHS ships are not cruise ships, there are few cabins. Many passengers sleep in the lounge chairs on the viewing deck or pitch tents on the bow deck. The last couple of years, the Obama administration has taken its sweet time deciding whether to send interpreters, so the AMHS started releasing the cabins to paying passengers. This year, all the cabins were released except on one ferry before the federal Department of Natural Resources asked for them. Now the feds are acting like it was the State’s decision, when in reality, they were the ones who set it up to fail. It’s likely another way they’re trying to make the sequestration furloughs painful, but this isn’t a sequestration furlough, it’s a lack of planning on the part of the feds.

And, it really doesn’t matter. You’d get a much better “tour” from the passengers who ride the ferry frequently. How do I know? I’ve taken the ferry and had many lovely conversations with the regulars who know the route so well and can tell stories about hiking a mountain or fishing a bay or an ancient Native story about a river that the federal employee doesn’t have in their guide book.

Is Alaska Just Different?   2 comments

Few impacts in Alaska as FAA furloughs delay flights around US

Nice headline, right. It comes from the following article in the Alaska Dispatch.

Basically this story illustrates something I’m wondering about. How much of the sequestration furloughs are hype? Yeah, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport does not compare to LAX in passenger jets, but it is the busiest cargo airport in the nation. You read that RIGHT. There are few delays affecting passengers, but there are also few delays affecting cargo ships. Is Alaska just different? I don’t think so. I think we may just be a bit more prone to calling a spade and spade.  There’s a random sentence buried in the middle of this article that says the result of the furlough is that fewer staff are gone on any given day. I read the airport manager saying that because people are working less paid hours, they’re taking less leave, so the tower at AIA is actually more fully staffed. This can’t just be happening at AIA.

I have to wonder how many supervisors in towers across the nation are telling their controllers to delay flights a bit to make it painful and manipulate public opinion.

Slaying a Government Giant   Leave a comment

Traveling by air has been a lot fun this week. It sure is great being deliberately abused by our government in an effort to score political points. The sequestration cuts only 2% of the growth of federal spending, not actual spending (over the next 10 years), but President Obama and the Democrats so opposed any cuts in government spending that they have to make the illusion painful in order to justify Obama’s budget and the budget produced by Senate Democrats which proposes nearly $50 trillion in federal spending over the

On their way to that atrocity, both President Obama’s budget and the Senate Democrat budget propose to repeal the sequester cuts and adopt yet another tax increase instead. That would be on top of the $1 trillion in Obamacare tax increases already going into effect this year, and the $600 billion tax increase already enacted in January to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the nation’s job creators, investors, and successful small businesses (aka “the rich”). I admit that I lack patience with slow learners. But if you don’t understand yet that the ultimate goal of today’s Democrat Party is to raise taxes until they have all of your income, it is too much of a burden on me to share a country with you.

So to instruct the American people of the necessity to get back on track with the Democrat Party program, this week the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began imposing artificial, unnecessary delays on air travel, particularly out of how profile airports around New York, Washington, and Los Angeles. The FAA and the Obama Administration blame that on the sequester cuts, which they blame on the Republicans.

Notice that in the new, transformational Obama era, our nation’s politics are now all about who gets the blame, rather than about who takes the credit. That is because America is in an accelerating, downward spiral to third world status. So the game now is hot potato over who gets stuck with the blame for that. There is nothing going on in Obama’s new Amerika to take credit for.

The sequester and exactly what gets cut was concocted within the Obama Administration, in the office of then OMB Director, now Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, to get an agreement out of the House Republicans to raise the debt limit to allow trillions more in additional federal borrowing. Obama was so certain that Republicans actually do not want to cut spending either, he was confident they would cave and cancel the sequester before it became effective. He was shocked when the Republicans stood by the cuts.

The portion of those cuts that the Obama Administration specified apply to the FAA is $600 million. They could cut instead the $500 million the FAA is spending on consultants, the $325 million it is spending on supplies and travel, and the Transportation Department’s new $474 million grant program “to make communities more livable and sustainable,” as reported in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. Republicans have also already passed legislation in the House, and introduced it in the Senate, to give President Obama complete discretion to make the 2% cuts in spending growth out of the most wasteful federal spending to be found.

Maybe Modernizing Them Would Help   Leave a comment

FAA-funded airport towers are using 30-year-old data to justify costs, despite significant changes in aviation and a vast reduction in general aviation and commercial accident rates. FAA officials are speechless in response.

In the meantime, Alaska Airlines, using airline satellite data and communication among pilots and occasionally conferences with ground maintenance staff continues to fly into dozens of airports without towers or with mothballed towers without incident.

AS plane flyingMaybe if we used the actual, real-time data and also considered the new technology we would discover that the costs for FAA air traffic towers is all out of proportion to their worth.

It’s just a thought!

Sequestration is Good Practice   Leave a comment

Air Traffic Controllers are Sequestered.  So what?,0,6966285.story

This bothers me a whole lot less than it seems to be bothering the news media. Living in Alaska, we’re used to flying into airfields where there is no tower or the tower is empty. Alaska Airlines uses a lot of next-generation navigation aids to facilitate this.

No, I do think we need some sort of traffic control at major airports, but here’s a really novel concept – let the local airport hire them.

I think the sequestration and the resulting reduction in services is a good thing because it allows people to get used to the inevitable, a much greater loss of federal services due to a real live and necessary reduction in funding. Today, Anchorage International Airport has less air traffic controllers. Next year, or 10 years from now, maybe this will all be handled by private firms pay sustainable wages and benefits. And, maybe by then, the air traffic controllers will simply be glad they have a job like the rest of us.

Sequestration – I’ve Seen This Before   Leave a comment

Back in 1990 (I think), the voters of Fairbanks, Alaska, decided to hold our city government to fiscal conservativism. We voted in a citizen’s initiative that capped taxes at a certain mill level. The City wailed that it was going to devastate the budget. Drunks wouldn’t just be sleeping in snowbanks, but climbing into our beds and dogs would start mating with cats. Oh, my!

That winter, 12 feet of snow (about three times normal) fell. It felt like it snowed every day for six months. We shoveled twice a day and ran out of room to put it all (snow doesn’t melt here in Interior Alaska, so that was 12 feet ON THE GROUND). The City responded by saying “well, the tax cap means budget constraints. So sorry, but we can’t plow the streets.”

We marshaled through. Our initiatives have to be renewed every two years, so the next winter was a big snow year too (Mt. Penatuba blew up) and they said the same thing. In the run up to the renewal election, they told us that they were desperate for funds and we’d just have to live with the current road budget if we voted to renew the tax cap.

The tax cap is still in place and our roads get plowed every winter. The public works director got tired for explaining why they weren’t plowing and an audit showed there was plenty of money and ….

Yeah, sequestration … it’s not scary at all. Sure, they’ll shut down the Washington Monument and if you go to Yellowstone you may need to pee in the woods (preferably to the bathrooms in my opinion), but after the initial freakout, they’ll come to the realization that people aren’t buying it and they’ll have to find a new way to manipulate us.

Remember that as you’re peeing in the woods. The pendulum always swings. Just when you think things are set in stone, it starts going back the other way. A wise woman by the name of Kathleen “Mike” Dalton said that. And, she was right.

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