Posts Tagged ‘Alaska’


A House Full

Posted from the capital city of Little Rock, Arkansas by Linda Lou Burton – Yesterday I talked about the US Census. Now you can see why the count of PEOPLE is so important in our united STATES! Each state gets two senators, but the Constitution provided for a House of Representatives based on population. Let’s go back to that original document, where Section 1 states: All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. Section 2 spells out the directives for the House – two-year term, at least 25 years old, a resident of the US at least seven years, and a resident of the state they represent.

The Logic

The Constitution intended to have two different groups each with a different method of representation: the Senate, always, to have TWO representatives from each state, no matter the land area of the state, or the number of people who live in that state. Meaning, today, Rhode Island, the smallest US state with 1,545 square miles, and Alaska, the largest state with 665,384 square miles, are entitled to the same number of senators: TWO.

But the House of Representatives, the Constitution writers figured, should be based on the number of people in each state – We The People, remember? So they rigged up a system to count people, and then allot a certain number of representatives based on population.

Today, the number of Representatives is fixed at 435 (a House full!), representing – got your calculator handy? – whatever a state’s population may be. Here’s a link to see, and track, who represents you, and how that divvies up state by state, and political party by party; it’s the website maintained by the House of Representatives.

From That House Site: Also referred to as a congressman or congresswoman, each representative is elected to a two-year term serving the people of a specific congressional district. The number of voting representatives in the House is fixed by law at no more than 435, proportionally representing the population of the 50 states. Currently, there are five delegates representing the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. A resident commissioner represents Puerto Rico. Learn more about representatives at The House Explained.

Unlike the Senate, where residents of the District of Columbia and US Territories have no voice, the House provides for delegates who have no vote, but do have floor privileges, can serve on committees, and can introduce legislation.

Can you guess which state has the most delegates in the House? You guessed California, of course, because California has the most people.

In 2021, California has 53 delegates in the House of Representatives. Seven states – Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming – have 1 delegate each in the House of Representatives because these states have the fewest people. Does this change as population shifts? Yes, it does. “Reapportionment” is the word.

Seeing the People

Imagine the differences in needs and viewpoint scattered out there in our 50 states! To really get a handle on these variations, read the summaries I wrote during my Journey Across America as I experienced PERSONALLY what makes up our country. What a way to dispel pre-conceived notions and see what is really there. It took me two years and 31,710 miles to get around to all of you. But I can vouch for this: the United States is  full of great people.

Our 435 delegates in that crammed-full House have a tremendous task to do, representing not just their state, but working for the good of everybody. And us PEOPLE have a tremendous task too (besides getting along with each other), and that is to thoughtfully elect delegates – to both the Senate, and the House of Representatives, that work together for the highest good of all of us.

We The People is a pretty awesome concept, when you think about it.

‘Nuff said.

Tomorrow: The President Takes Office


Southernmost Little City in the World

Originally posted December 30, 2005 by Linda Lou Burton from Ushuaia, Argentina – Ushuaia, you need a new press agent. I mean, you lead the list as “Southernmost City in the World,” at Latitude 53, and, you are. And you are the southernmost city in South America, (when it is pointed out that Puerto Williams is just a “settlement”) and southernmost city in Argentina, for sure. You are the “last stop” when most folks head for Antarctica, so you’re hard to miss. You have a national park in your back door and an airport big enough for the Concorde.

But that’s about all there is in the tour info. Your picture won’t come up on Google Earth, and, anyway, how are you PRONOUNCED? Us-who-ee-a? You-shy-uh?

I was looking forward to being there, because, for one, I’d been to Barrow, Alaska, the Northernmost City in North America, in summer there; Ushuaia completed my plan to visit the Southernmost City in South America in summer too. A tick-mark on the Accomplishment Chart. And, after 36 hours at sea, I was looking forward to walking on land again, seeing buildings, and traffic lights. All that day-in-the-life stuff. Nobody told me you’d take my breath away!

When I caught sight of you this morning I fell in love. There you sit, tucked between the clean, clear waters of the Beagle Channel and the end-of-the-Andes chain. No foothills block the views, just sea and mountains, top to bottom, bottom to top.

I don’t know your politics, Ushuaia, and I don’t know the quality of your restaurant food, or the comfort of your bed-pillows. Because, darn it, my one regret of the trip, I had no time to get to know you first-hand.

I saw you from the ship this morning, I breathed your sparkling air, and then, whoosh, onto the dreaded tour bus, zip-zip around with nary a foot on the ground, and dropped ka-plop with all my tour-buds at your airport.

Goodbye Ushuaia, I hope to be back someday. Meanwhile, you really ought to let people know how charming you are. I, for one, will be telling.


Sound the Trumpets! Mission Accomplished

Christmas in Antarctica originally posted by Linda Lou Burton December 22, 2005 from Cape Horn, Chile – I’d had my fingers crossed since June 22 and the trip to Barrow, Alaska, where I was NORTH of the Arctic Circle on the first day of Summer. There didn’t seem to be any way possible to get myself SOUTH of the Antarctic Circle on the first day of the southern hemisphere’s Summer, because nobody GOES there. But Cape Horn would do. The southernmost point of what is considered South America, Latitude 55.43 degrees south. Barrow was at Latitude 71.19 degrees north and even Fairbanks, Alaska was 64.83 degrees. But hey, the earth is made up of mostly LAND at the north end and mostly WATER at the south. So be it. Cape Horn would satisfy me. I wanted to set my foot on that chunk of land on December 22.

We had come through the Beagle Channel to arrive at the Horn at 2:30 PM, and our leader announced with great glee, “We can land!” In the last fifteen crossings, he told us, the weather had been fit for a landing only three times. He was jumping around, PREPARING things. I did my analysis too. The sea didn’t look too rough, the rain wasn’t coming down too hard, the distance to shore wasn’t too far. But then.

I zoomed in on the steps. The shoreline was rocky, the landing beach quite small. A sheer rock cliff rose straight up from the beach, and that’s where the steps were, fastened somehow to the rock wall. One hundred and twelve rickety wooden steps, some broken or split, all slippery in the waves and rain.

Just at the top on a rounded grassy knoll I could see the monument to the albatross, honoring all the sailors who perished while trying to round the cape. Sara Vial’s poem was inscribed at the bottom of the monument, I read from our handout:

“I am the albatross that waits for you at the end of the earth. I am the forgotten soul of the dead sailors who crossed Cape Horn from all the seas of the world. But they did not die in the furious waves. Today they fly in my wings to eternity in the last trough of the Antarctic winds.”

A few hundred yards left of the monument was the the home of the lighthouse keeper, supposedly occupied by the keeper, his wife, a cat, and a dog. A lonely existence! “There may be souvenirs available from there,” we were told, “but be patient, the house is very tiny.”

Reluctantly, I decided not to make the trip. I’d consider my Mission Accomplished by my presence on the ship. I spent the day in the Torghatten Salong, with my cameras and with many others who didn’t want to venture up those steps. I walked in the open air of Deck 5. “Will you take my picture with the Cape behind me?” I asked one of the stay-behinds. She did.

That evening, at dinner, those who braved the climb relayed their story. “I have a certificate!” they said. “I have walked on Cape Horn!”

Well, I’ve been close. “Cape Horn is one of the greatest graveyards for ships anywhere in the world,” were the words on my handout. “It is a rite of passage for sailors the world over.” “Aha! My rite of passage,” I thought. “I have rounded the Horn.”

Overall, I’m pretty pleased. First Day of Summer, I declare you a success.


A Bi-Polar Year: From the Arctic Circle to Antarctica

A Bi-Polar Year: From the Arctic Circle to Antarctica will be released in 2018.

Here’s a peek at the intro.

It’s something I wanted to do for years. That is, to be north of the Arctic Circle on the first day of summer (June of course), and then to be south of the Antarctic Circle on the first day of summer in the southern hemisphere (December). This had to happen in the same year, I thought. And so it did.

The trip began in June, an easy ride from Seattle to Alaska and the northernmost point in North America. Point Barrow, polar bear country! Then life wound through summer, and autumn, and family, and friends, till I boarded a plane for my flight to Santiago, Chile, and my southbound ship that got me to Cape Horn on December 22. We crossed the Drake Passage in time for Christmas on the White Continent, where I met my first penguin.

Join me?

(c) Linda Lou Burton 2017


Highs and Lows

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – “Come over here Sam,” June said. “Stand by your Grandma and me. I want our picture together.” We posed, smiling; Mark came out of the office to snap us with June’s camera and with mine. “Are you sure you can drive this van?” Sam asked as June pulled her seat way, way forward. “You’re not much taller than me.” June and I burst out laughing and assured Sam that height didn’t affect driving ability. Then we proceeded to swap stories about our early driving days and near accidents we’d had. “I’m not going to listen,” said Sam from the back seat, covering his ears. It was 14 miles to the airport from downtown’s Driftwood Lodge along the Gastineau Channel; the tide was in at the moment; we’d seen it at low tide when it was mostly mud. Highs and lows. Hugs at the front door of the airport; the kind you have when you know you will truly miss a person. “Goodbye June in Juneau,” Sam said, and we wheeled our luggage in; easy maneuvers in this small airport. The nice ladies in Security chatted with Sam about his visit and gave him a TSA sticker for his shirt; he eyed me grinning “I didn’t have to take off my shoes!” Grandson Sam and I are leaving Juneau now, feeling high and low. High to get back to regular life – Sam to his Dad and Mom and a new neighborhood; me to my kitties and the rest of the Journey. Low because we’ve adopted Juneau in our hearts. So many nice people! » read more


Ike and the 49th Star

Sam’s Photo

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – In Juneau, it was 9:02 AM. Back east in Washington, DC, it was just past the noon hour as President Dwight D Eisenhower inscribed his name to the document of proclamation that made Alaska the 49th state. Then he signed an Executive order setting a new design of 49 stars for the official flag of the United States. The date was January 3, 1959. The new design had seven staggered rows of stars, with seven stars in each row, and the traditional thirteen stripes. It had been chosen by a four-man selection commission and formally approved by the President but didn’t become official until July 4, 1959. The New York Times reported: President Eisenhower told one of the guests at the ceremony today that it was not the design he had preferred, “but I was overruled by all my advisers.” His choice was nine rows of stars, alternating five and six stars to a row. » read more


Ends of the Road

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – Road construction is everywhere. Even when you only have 40 miles of paved roads. “This is my summer job,” Marisa told us after apologizing for what might be a long delay. Grandson Sam got out of the car to look around. Marisa admired the Scion; confirmed she was native-born to Juneau; added she was now a student at Colorado State, a business major. I asked if all the road work was due to a slide from bad winter weather. “No, the road was just worn out,” she answered. “The weather here is awfully hard on our paved roads.” A call came in; Marisa shook her head. “I’m afraid your wait is going to be even longer,” she told us. “We just had a turn-around and the pilot car will have to chase him down.” No cars allowed loose in the middle of all that earth-moving equipment! We were appropriately well-behaved on our ride behind the pilot car when it finally came to guide us past all the hazard zones; the piles of rocks and dirt; giant earth moving trucks; the perilously perched shovels and digging equipment. Sam jumped from side to side in the car, trying to see it all. There’s nothing a boy enjoys more than the sight of giant trucks. Except, maybe, chunking rocks and making waves. He got to do that too. » read more


Big Gulp

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – Captain Larry dropped a slender acoustic device into the water as our boat sat quietly rocking. “We’ll listen for a while,” he nodded, “I want to know if they are coming this way.” Grandson Sam’s eyes got big as “whale talk” filled the boat, the device clearly picking up the underwater sounds. We didn’t know what it meant, but it verified that whales were near. Katie, our on-board naturalist, had already gone up top with her binoculars, watching for the sight of birds, and blow. That’s where the whales would be, we’d learned on the way out from Auke Bay, the “blow” being the burst of air expelled from the whale’s blowholes, or nostrils, as they surfaced, causing a visible spray. Just off in the distance, we’d spotted both, a frenzy of circling birds and geyserlike sprays. That meant whales, whales enjoying lunch. “Just like the sight of a parking lot full of cars outside a restaurant,” I thought to myself, smiling, “the sign that it’s a good place to eat.” Then Katie yelled, “It’s Sue! I see Sue!” Captain Larry yanked the device from the water and swung around to start the engine. “I know where they are going now!” he said, and suddenly we were moving again, straight toward the whales. All of us raced to the outside deck as Captain Larry positioned the boat for a perfect view. » read more


Dog Day Afternoon

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – “Excuse me, but what exactly is a musher?” I tentatively asked after our instructor wanted to know if there were any questions. Grandson Sam and I were sitting on wooden benches in the “Pre-lim” tent, getting our instructions on how to behave around the dogs. It was Sled Dog Summer Camp for us; a chance to meet the puppies and the grown-up dogs that spend their summer training to pull a racing sled. “I’m a musher,” smiled our instructor; “a musher is the person who drives the dog sled.” A musher, ah. Austin Barr was talking; he’s spending his summer in Sheep Creek Dog Camp, high in the Alaska mountains above Gastineau Channel; living in a tent with a fake wooden front designed to look like an old mining camp; working with other mushers training the 120 high-energy Alaskan huskies we see outside the tent So how did this former Californian wind up here? » read more


To The Max

Linda Burton and grandson Samuel Shumate, age 9, posting from Juneau, Alaska – “Reporting live from Juneau, Alaska,” is the sound I hear coming from just outside the door. It’s grandson Sam, now a Steven Spielberg wannabe. Yesterday I showed him the Nikon’s video capabilities; today he’s into Point of View, recording everything in sight “as he sees it.” Right now he’s filming Mt Juneau, the front of our building, and every raven flying overhead. I decide we’ll use this force for good today. “Hey Sam,” I call enthusiastically, “let’s go downtown and find the capitol. You can make a video.” And so, enthusiastically, we start walking. Seven blocks or so, along the waterfront and up the hill; thumbs up at last; we made it to the door. The Tour Sign at the front invites us in; an arrow points us to the information spot; a young man greets us with a friendly smile. “The next tour in 10 minutes,” he said. Enough time for some post-hillclimb rest; then here is Max, his bright red vest sporting the Tour Guide badge. “We’ll begin in the lobby,” he said. “I’ll start with the basics.” The crowd gathered; Sam’s finger was poised on the video button. » read more