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Ed Driscoll

Capt. Butterfield to the Bridge, Please

February 23rd, 2013 - 2:39 pm

For a newspaper that self-identifies as “Progressive,” the New York Times sure records any signs of actual progress with enormous heaping helpings of solemnity, doesn’t it?

Michelle Ridgway, a marine ecologist who serves on the state science panel for cruise ships, watched as Alaska cruise ship traffic grew to about a million people a year and changed her hometown, Ketchikan. “The pulp mill closed and the place turned into Disneyland,” she said.

As Orrin Judd quips in his headline linking to the above story, “Lucky Devils.”

But my God, man! Just wait until the New York Times stumbles upon how centuries of increasingly larger oceangoing vessels pulling into the Hudson River has transformed Nieuw Amsterdam beyond all recognition. A once desolate and remote island, placid and sparsely populated, through the constant influx of both tourists and immigrants, has transmogrified itself into one giant, overpriced amusement park — even down to its own Disney stores, including one right in the center of town — a region named after the Gray Lady herself.

Any day now, the Times will be begging Mayor Bloomberg to sell the island back to the Indians — though I’m not sure if they’d meet the standards of his environmental beliefs.

(In other words — the Butterfield Effect strikes again.)

(Thumbnail image on PJM homepage by Shutterstock.com.)

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All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
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This place is now run by arrogant c-cksuckers. I’ve asked to have my account deleted but the f-cktards in control are so very responsive to their readers. Yeah, right! I want nothing to do with this crappy place. Delete my goddamn account. You can all go f-ck yourselves!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just what in hell was in your cornflakes this morning ? Sure this site's reply mechanism needs some sprucing up and replies are sometimes beyond re-dique-ulous to enter and send.
But ,....don't leave now, rick. It's just starting to get good and warm hereabouts.......
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The signon system is slow and erratic.

The commenting system is slow and erratic.

Are the hamsters in the PJM server room on strike? Didn't they get their cornflakes this morning?

FAIL!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah, people living next to pulp mills hate it when they go away. I know that Tacoma, WA just doesn't smell the same...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I well remember the smell of the Union Camp mill in Savannah, GA back in the '50s and '60s, and from ninety miles away when the wind was from the east. That said, people didn't complain about the smell nearly as much as they complained about losing their business or their job and having to move away after the plant moved or shut down. That Union Camp plant got a lot of people off the north end of a southbound mule.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Have to add that smells do sometimes have to accompany a growing economy. It's just that, if the wind was right, in the 60's you could smell Tacoma from better than 65 miles. Only Simpson is left and it doesn't smell anymore. (But it's still pretty cold, wet and miserable, with the worst traffic in the U.S.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ketchikan and Sitka, Alaska were once rough and tough logging and fishing with a dash of mining towns that were largely blue collar, unpretentious, and soliidly union and old-fashioned conservative Democrat. Juneau was once among the richest towns in the World because of the Treadwell and later the Alaska-Juneau gold mines and their mills. Federal labor policy caused the A-J to close in '44 and the fixed price of gold kept it closed leaving Juneau with an economy based on the State and Federal governments and their employees. Capital cities pretty naturally trend left and the lefties drove pretty much all productive enterprise out of Juneau and greenies have kept the A-J, still potentially very productive, from reopening. Greenie pressure to essentially turn the entire Tongass National Forest, most of Southeast Alaska, into a wilderness area finally came to fruition with the Democrat Administrations of Bill Clinton in DC and Tony Knowles in Alaska. Clinton moved to cease all logging in the Tongass and Knowles sat idley by and let him. With no trees, the mills in Sitka and Ketchikan closed destroying most of the private economy in both towns. Juneau has State government, some of it anyway, services and retail, and the Green's Creek and Kensington mines. Modern mining pays very well but really doesn't employ many people or buy much stuff off the local economy. It also produces very little tax or royalty revenue; about the only revenue available to the community where a mine is established is property tax on the facilities.

Enter tourism. The downtown and dock areas of all three towns have become theme parks; some marketer's vision of what a gold rush era mining town might have looked like somewhere. The reality is that very little from the Klondike Gold Rush era survives anywhere in Alaska. If you want to see authentic Gold Rush, you have to go to Dawson City, Yukon, far, far from the beaten path. Some authentic Gold Rush Era architecture survives in Skagway, but Skagway's economy is almost entirely based on tourism. It has a few hundred residents in winter, a few thousand transient residents, mostly college-aged kids, in summer, and every day from mid-May through mid-September sees the population double or even triple with cruise ship passengers. I thought downtown Juneau, pop. 30K, was a mess with 5 or 6 Panamax cruise ships in the harbor until I was in Skagway, pop. 3K, with 5 Panamax ships in its harbor.

The net result of an economy based on tourism is the town becomes very lefty, very green, and has the kind of stratification associated with the Third World; a few rich owners and a lot of young, poor, service and retail employees who are mostly transients. It is telling that most of the retailers in Juneau have brought back lay-away sales because so many cruise ship and other tourism employees are too poor to buy consumer products outright. The irony is that in the main the people whose environmentalism destroyed the original economies are now the ones lamenting the only economy left; tourism. Southeast Alaska is now firmly a part of the Ecotopia Region that runs down the West Coast west of the mountains.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Great comment -- thanks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you for the kind words; i enjoyed your piece.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I, for one, would be pleased to restore New York City and Boston to the pristine, post-Columbian, pre-Jamesian state. As Green, I believe the population of those areas should be reduced to its natural carrying capacity. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Perish the thought, the white men are stuck with that "giant, overpriced amusement park". The Indians will not take it back unless it's returned to its original pristine state.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Can we at least keep Grand Central and the Seagram building? ;)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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