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Reposted from ban nock at DKos by TriSec

A few weeks ago I was hiking on a high peak very close to a large metro area. The peak sees a lot of foot traffic being as it is the highest summit in a very popular National Park.

The trail is a superhighway of footpaths, wide enough for two people to walk beside each other or pass easily, stepped up with rocks or retaining logs. Many people just use the first few miles of the trail for a jog or to get exercise. The first few thousand feet of elevation gain are easy enough.

I felt some rain drops at 8:30 in the morning, but not to worry, thundershowers don't usually develop at the earliest until noon. Even then if you can wait them out they are soon over. Before 11;00 the rain became steady, and I met the rangers hustling on down from the high bivy spot, making remarks about the rain. Unconcerned I waited under a tiny overhang of a boulder for the rain to let up. It didn't.

I started down, no use heading up in the rain. By the time I got down to 12,000 feet it was really raining, I had my cheap milsurp XXL raincoat over my head and over my day pack. Then it started to hail. In thirty seconds they were big enough to hurt. Nowhere to go above treeline. I passed a couple, the woman was on her belly squeezing under a rock, the guy beside her, using his back pack to shield his head. His shoulders were taking a beating.

The hail didn't let up but it didn't get too big also. Biggest ones were the size of mothballs. I had a hand up under my hood to give a space between my rain coat and my bald spot. The hail hurt the back of my hand. Stung pretty bad when a big one connected.

Photo Ansel Adams via wiki, trail is roughly L of center then cutting back across the snowy peak right of Longs.

I kept walking, fast. In the mountains nothing cures like losing elevation. The trees were close but too small, nothing you could get under. It all stopped at some time before I reached real trees. Twenty minutes is a long time for an intense hail storm. The trail was ankle deep in an ice water slush of tiny ice cubes.

The walking was softer on the slushy ice but my boots aren't new and I was getting leakage. There were many other people on the trail, all of us walking as quickly as we could to get down. Down out of the cold air, out of the icy slush.

I noticed less than half of the people even had a rain coat. I was the only person wearing boots, everyone had some sort of hiking sneakers that everyone wears now. People's feet were very cold and wet. Many were wet all over, but walking fast no shivering. I looked carefully at everyone I saw, prepared to give my coat and sweater to anyone dangerously cold. In those conditions any accident could turn serious very quickly.

I was amazed at how unprepared most people were despite hundreds of dollars in hydration systems, and GPSs, and competitive mountain running shoes, and trekking poles, and god knows what else. If they'd just thrown a plastic trash bag in their packs they'd of been able to pull it over themselves,  poke a hole for their head, and be dry. Plastic ponchos cost a coupla bucks.

I guess I'm over prepared. I can last a night out if uncomfortably.

For a simple day hike on a well traveled trail I bring.

A two quart water bottle, (gallon for a long hike)
Fleece sweater
Rain coat
two ways to start a fire
cell phone
roll of athletic tape
bear spray
Space blanket

Off trail, far away from other people, (my preferred habitat), I add
Emergency locator beacon
hooded fleece jacket

Extras that I don't need but I sometimes bring for fun
tiny stove
instant coffee, tea, and bullion cube soup
peanuts or an orange
Yes I know there is no compass on the list and a map is only for fun. Oh well, I'm old, don't get lost much anymore. I don't need food. I can and have gone many days without and all I was is hungry.

What do you bring where you live?


I like to go hiking

7%7 votes
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63%63 votes

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Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 09:50 AM PDT

A week at Scout Camp

by TriSec

Javi joined the troop in February of 2012.  We were gearing up for his first summer camp last year, but I got sick 3 weeks before the troop was ready to go and we had to back out. (See "Monday Night Cancer Club")  It was our goal this year to sell enough popcorn so he got to go for free.  We almost did, just missing by $30.  So when registration time came around, his name was on the list and we were ready to go!

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Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 11:19 AM PDT

Gay Scouts! Run!

by vuzvilla

Reposted from News From The Plains. All This Red Can Make You Blue by TriSec

News from the Plains. All this Red can make you Blue

Gay scouts! Run!
by Barry Friedman

If you’re keeping score at home (and if you’re not, you should start), area churches in Tulsa, Oklahoma have weighed in on the decision from the Boy Scouts of America to allow homosexual boys into troops.

(BSA does want them out, though, by the time they're eighteen, so the organization can still keeps its Homophobic Merit Badge)

Ed. note: Have your face and palm ready

Tulsa’s largest United Methodist Church, Asbury United Methodist Church, said it is considering dropping its entire scouting program altogether rather than have its youth share the scouting experience with homosexual boys.

"This is very troubling decision, but we're leaning in that direction. I don’t know exactly what we’ll do,” said the Rev. Tom Harrison.
How about this? Act like a church. You're supposed to lead on issues like this. If not, you might as well sell the facilities to Cabela's and become a docent at the Family Research Council. How is this a "troubling" decision? They're boys, they want to do good in the community, live by a moral and ethical code, race Pinewood Derbies, help old Methodist ladies across the street ... and you can't make the call?
"We would," he said, "like for the scouts to be about scouting, and it’s gotten another agenda.”
No, it hasn't. None of the homosexual boys who want to join Scouts—and God knows why they still do. But I digress—are doing so to be able to teach show tunes to young heterosexual Cubs who are sitting and whittling around a campfire.  It's you, reverend, who changed the agenda; it's you who keeps worrying about a gay-straight-group circle jerk during the making of the S’mores.
Because Baptists are not autonomous, the SBC lacked the authority to demand churches drop their Scouts. However, the resolution implored the organization to expel board and executive leaders who advocated the policy change. The SBC said it feared the change was a stepping stone to allowing gay Scout leaders.
Well, as long as they're not getting pissy about it. Anyway, quickly, Robin, to the Baptists!

We steered the bus to Woodland Acres Baptist Church and a visit to its pastor, The Rev. Kriss Haymes, himself a former Boy Scout and scout chaplain--two seminal moments in the pastor's life, which, evidently, didn't take.

“It kind of turns Boy Scouts on its ear,” he said. “I can imagine how I would feel as a father sending my boy to a camp where he might be in a tent with a boy who was attracted to him. That’s why we keep Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts apart.”
Really? You're that worried about your son being in proximity to a homosexual who might smile at him? It's nothing like you think.

Gay person: “Morning.”
Straight person: “Hey, you want to sodomize me, don't you?"

Surely not all Baptists think like this, so we made an unscheduled stop before lunch (we promised the agnostics on board barbecue if they behaved) to see Reverend Ted Kersh at South Tulsa Baptist Church who, though saddened, blames the organization for bringing these troubles on itself and hastening the end of western civilization.

“This may just end scouting as we know it. The Boy Scouts have been an organization that has carried on the traditions of America. When they made that decision, they lost one of their great traditions.”
What great American tradition is that ... the one that restricts membership based on ignorance and bigotry and refuses to acknowledge an individual's dignity?

To the Lutherans we go, and the Rev. Leonard Busch, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, who said he will try not to be as vindictive as the mother ship, the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church.

“We’ll deal with it one case at a time. We strive to be open and welcoming to people. We have a profound sense that all of us are broken people, and that we can’t stand in a sense of superior judgment over other people.”
Did y’all read that last part about not getting high on your superior judgement?

Hello. Hello!

We head now, downtown, and while we've visited the Methodists out south, no tour of Tulsa's churches is complete without a stop at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, a place, for years, sensitively and carefully ministered and run by Rev. Dr. Mouzon Biggs Jr., now retired. Rev. Bill Crowell, current associate pastor, said his organization will be making no changes to its troops or its support.

That's the ecclesiastical version of Snap

At this point, we should have just gassed up the coach, bought some souvenirs and "Don't hate the 918" t's, and headed to one of the 1.2-million casinos in the area for some Red Ball, but we decided to make one more stop ...

The Catholic Church.

A worried Bishop Edward J. Slattery said that many Catholic Churches in his Diocese have troops, knows they do great work, and wants them to continue, so he doesn't want to hurt the organization.

But in this case he'll make an exception.

“What do they mean by openly gay? I assume that means they are sexually active. “This culture of ours is crazy, no rules,” he said.
No, no, no, no, no, that's not what it means! For the love of St. Vincent de Paul, Bishop, nobody's going to make your church troop put on a production of Rent.

Considering the Catholic Church’s handling of its own scandals, involving priests abusing young boy, its refusal to work with civil authorities, its transferring of known-offenders to cushier gigs, including the Vatican itself, and the lovely tactic of blaming the victims themselves for the abuse, perhaps it might want to go a little easy on the breakdown of rules and order in our culture.

The only fashion accessory that mutates a man's ego more than a clipboard and a whistle is a cassock.

Tulsa World, Baptists, Boy Scouts

Reposted from varii by TriSec Editor's Note: Another one. I'm sure the VFW on the next block would love to have a Scout Troop. -- TriSec

In the state of Washington, a Catholic priest is pulling the church's support for a boy scout troop because the scouts are now accepting gay young people into their ranks.

And it gets worse:

Fr. Derek Lappe informed his parishoners in a highly emotional, somewhat defensive letter, with a lengthy attempt to argue that homosexuality does not have a genetic origin.
And it gest worse, again! The priest states:
“We are going to teach the full truth of human sexuality — especially the truth about contraception as the greatest destroyer of marriage and family life.”
The priest, an expert in all things that are gay, spouts these reasons for same sex attraction:
Included on the list:  “Social phobia or extreme shyness,” “Sexual abuse or rape,” “Lack of hand/eye coordination and resultant teasing by peers (boys),” “Dislike of team sports (boys),” “Lack of rough and tumble play (boys),” “Mother emotionally unavailable (girls)” and “Parents failed to encourage same-sex identification.”
My question is: why is this pathetic man in a position of authority ?



Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 05:47 AM PDT

Don't let the door hit you in the ass

by TriSec

I actually have mixed feelings about this.

Clearly, these boys need the benefits of the program, and I'd gladly welcome them in without their parents if I thought it could help.

Alas, as the saying goes in the business...."You can't reach every boy."


Given the BSA's recent decision, would you:

18%7 votes
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| 37 votes | Vote | Results

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Fri May 24, 2013 at 07:45 AM PDT

BSA change comes from the inside

by TriSec

From my friend, Dr. Holmes at Crew 56, Cambridge (MA)

Change in Boy Scouts coming from the inside

GRAPEVINE, Texas — The Boy Scouts of America’s lifting the ban on openly gay youth Thursday came 12 years after I received this charge:

"Change will only come from the inside."

It came from a silver-haired man who wore his Boy Scout uniform. Despite a lifetime of service to the Boy Scouts of America, he had been kicked out a few months prior for being gay. He exhorted me not to leave the organization.

He told me this as we stood in protest in Copley Square outside the BSA’s 2001 national annual meeting, held in Boston. I had in one hand a rainbow sign that said “Den Mothers for Inclusion,” and in the other hand my blue-uniformed 10-year-old Cub Scout son. I was heavy-hearted at the Supreme Court decision the year before allowing the BSA to ban gays from membership. We were an outdoors and craft-oriented family and my son loved Scout activities, which I had introduced him to. But how could I allow him to participate in an organization that would discriminate against our gay and lesbian family members and friends?

The silver-haired gentleman provided a startling new way to look at the issue. He said, “If people like you who support people like me do not stay to press change from within, it will never happen. The Supreme Court has assured that. If a boy who begins as a 7-year-old Cub Scout realizes he is a 13-year-old gay teen, who will he turn to if there are no sympathetic adults?”


Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:59 AM PDT

I oppose the BSA's policy change

by TriSec

This may shock you.  I have decided to oppose the BSA's proposed changes regarding our national membership policy.  I have to applaud the BSA's shrewd move in utilizing the Friday News Dump to the fullest extent last week.  Not only was it Friday, but it was this Friday and at the height of the lockdown when this all came out.  The Nation had riveted it's attention on my backyard, so this was easy to overlook.

In case you missed it, the BSA is proposing thus:

Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout, and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to:

(a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and
(c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.

But here's the thing, and the root of why I'm opposing this.  It doesn't go far enough.  It really is that simple.
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Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:59 AM PDT

Mormons say "gay scouts are OK".

by TriSec

But adults are still icky, of course.

Mormon Church OK with ending ban.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has given tacit approval to the Boy Scouts’ proposal to allow gay youth to join, saying they “appreciate the positive things” included in the plan to end the organization's controversial ban on gay boys.

The Boy Scouts of America last week proposed allowing gay youth – but not adults – to participate in the private youth organization. That came two months after they floated the idea of allowing gays and lesbians of all ages to join, a proposal that was denounced by the conservative religious groups that make up a bulk of Scouting.

Of course, since the Mormons run the show anyway, this seems to indicate that they are reading the tea leaves and seeing that the ban will be overturned, flaws and all.  This looks like early damage control to me.

Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 03:46 PM PDT

BSA coalition offers alternate proposal

by TriSec

This comes from The Inclusive Scouting Network

All adult applicants must possess the moral, educational, and emotional
qualities that the Boy Scouts of America deems necessary to afford positive
leadership to youth. The applicant must also be the correct age, subscribe to the
precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and abide by the
Scout Oath and the Scout Law.

That each Chartered Organization of the Boy Scouts of America shall have
the right (but not be required) to grant membership to individuals who, in the best
judgment of that Chartered Organization, demonstrate behavior that exemplifies
the highest level of good conduct and respect for others in accordance with the
mission of the BSA and is consistent with the principles and teachings of that
Chartered Organization, without regard to sexual orientation.

This differs from the BSA's own proposal that only addresses youth membership.  The way the current proposal is worded, a scout can join, learn leadership skills, progress all the way to Eagle, and then immediately become irrelevant, ostracized, and excommunicated upon his 18th birthday.

In many ways, that's worse than excluding gays outright.

Reposted from EagleOfFreedom by TriSec

It's being reported today that the Boy Scouts of America is going to hold a vote to change their discriminatory policy to now allow gay scouts.  However, they will maintain that gay adults will not be allowed to be leaders.  Here's a quick story from Rachel Maddow's blog.

Great, so you can be a gay scout, achieve Eagle rank, be a member of the Order of the Arrow, Senior Patrol Leader, and as soon as you turn 18, you are barred from the organization in which you spent your youth working to earn those achievements.

Maybe the BSA thinks this is progress, and some fair minded people might give them credit for baby steps of progress.  But I do not.  The message behind this policy is the same.  You are not wanted.  Your 'lifestyle' is unacceptable, and you cannot be trusted around children.  

Any boy who has come up through the ranks is still stigmatized and will be without gay or lesbian leaders as role models, and will know perfectly well to keep quiet.  Ending the ban on gay scouts alone doesn't make it better for them. Period.  End of story.  

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Reposted from IB JOHN by TriSec

The tax-exempt status for Boy Scouts of America in California may be changed. Under a bill sponsored by Ricardo Lara, California Democratic State Senator from Long Beach,  the nonprofit tax breaks of the Boys Scouts of America would be changed to a corporate tax. The bill has cleared its first hurdle with a 5 to 2 vote in the Government and Finance Committee.

The Youth Equality Act, sponsored by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Long Beach, would deny tax-exempt status to youth groups that discriminate on the basis of gender identity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion or religious affiliation.
This would mean that groups like the Boys Scouts that discriminate against gay scouts would no longer get to write off their taxes. They would have to pay their taxes as any other corporation would.
Former Boy Scouts of America president Rick Cronk appeared before the committee on Wednesday, telling members that Scouting has had a positive impact on the state and that being taxed on fundraising sales would hurt local troops.

Mr. Cronk whines about how this will affect the Boy Scouts, but fails to mention how the policy of excluding gay scouts is the root of the problem. If the California chapters allow gay scouts then the nonprofit tax breaks remain.
If the Scouts would reject discrimination as a policy then it would solve their tax problem.
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Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 06:39 AM PDT

A letter to my Scout Executive

by TriSec

Hi Chuck.

Just wanted to drop you a brief note on this today.  I know our Council already supports overturning the ban, and that we already have a non-discrimination policy in place.  I am a member of “Scouts for Equality”, and while I know other councils are struggling with this, I am blessed with a certain smugness by being ahead of the curve on this issue.

However, I feel that I can’t say this enough times; national policy is absolutely destroying us.  

This past year, I’ve been forced to have a conversation about this with my Cub Scouts.  At a public popcorn sale, the rate of refusal was better than 50%, and I felt I needed to pull the boys aside and re-assure them that they weren’t doing anything wrong.  So I did tell them what was going on, and why.

Also recently, I ‘ve had some recruiting events where parents have refused to sign up their boys, and I regret that some time ago now I had an actual shouting match with a parent while in full uniform over this…not my proudest moment as a Scouter, I’m sad to report.

Nevertheless, I’m very glad that Boston Minuteman is a national leader on this.  I know we are on the right side of history, and I surely hope for a favourable decision from National come this May.  I would hope that Boston Minuteman is doing everything in it’s power to network with other Scouters from around the region and is working to convince the closed-minded among our ranks that this will not destroy the movement.  In fact, I’m convinced that we need to evolve in order to survive.  

I’ve been a member of this organization since I joined as a Wolf Cub Scout myself back in October of 1974….that’s a very long time to be dedicated to a youth group.  I will not mince words here; this membership crisis has provoked an existential crisis for me, and should National decide to remain an exclusionary and homophobic organization, I am strongly considering retiring from it entirely.

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