Youth on Trump


By Lily Spechler, The Vermont Cynic


First of all, for all of those who didn’t vote, shame on you. Today a girl in my political science class argued that “you have to respect people’s morals”. By morals, she was talking about how some people did not vote because their morals did not align with Hillary’s morals. That is not an important enough argument to spend any time on. Yes, Hillary was a flawed candidate from the get go. But she stood for basic human rights and the health of this planet. By not voting, you are directly consenting to the pussy-grabbing morals of Donald Trump. By not voting you have absolutely zero right to be upset about anything that will come of this election. By not voting you are surrendering your one and only power to influence the outcome of this election. And not to mention the fact that the election is so much more than who wins presidency. What about local governments? Don’t you care about that? I am not sure what voter turnout rate for our age group was, but I know I can count ten people off the bat who failed to fulfill this basic civic duty. I am anxious to see how that ratio pans out across our nation.

We can only do one thing at this point and that is to look forwards. How can we make voting more available for college students and minority groups? Who will be the first to develop a voting app to make voting accessible at the tap of a finger? Yes, it’s absurd that we only get one day- and a Tuesday at that. Yes, its absurd to still be relying on snail mail. But what are you going to do about it? Lets step up and make a change so that this never happens again.

Let’s turn our attention to our beautiful and vulnerable planet. THESE PEOPLE HAVE PUBLICLY DENIED CLIMATE CHANGE! THAT IS VERY, VERY, SCARY! But since America was too consumed by e-mails to notice that little red flag, let’s discuss.

I am feeling exceedingly grateful to our former leaders for thinking ahead on things like the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The Paris Climate Agreement commits countries to undertake ‘nationally determined contributions’ and establishes mechanisms to hold them accountable and to strengthen ambition in the years ahead.” (

The Paris Agreement is binding by law, and legally requires participating countries to report carbon emissions. Although yes, the U.S. has the right to pull out of this agreement, “The Paris Agreement specifies that a party may not withdraw from the agreement within the first three years following its entry into force.” (

Sounds like somebody was foreseeing the possibility of a leader who disregards science and all things intellectual. That is a huge deal, and though Trump may very well try to go around this, the Paris Climate Agreement went into effect on November 4, 2016. In the same vein, the Environmental Protection Agency is in effect by law- not easily reversible. So to all my environmentalist friends- you know what, lets not even say ‘environmentalists’ lets say educated human beings who are living within the context of reality- hope is not lost. We are the future. We cannot give up the fight for this precious climate. Yes, this is a huge set back. But we don’t need to surrender to impending doom, either. Let’s have faith in the checks and balances of our system. Let’s have faith in ourselves as innovators, movers, and shakers. These rich white supremacists that have so rudely interrupted our victories are fortunately dying out. Regardless of what is happening right now we are still the future.

Upon talking to one of my older mentors, she said that “Progress is often full of zigs and zags. We will get there if we don’t give up. Never give up.

Here are the scariest truths. The Supreme Court serves for life. The president has the right to choose who will fill Scalia’s seat, and the Republican party didn’t even consider Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland. So the Supreme Court is going to be controlled by conservative Republicans. Roe V. Wade, the landmark decision by the U.S Supreme Court on the issue of abortion, can be revoked and that is not a “far-out” reality- Pence (the Vice President-elect ) was the one who led the charge for abolishing the right to chose in Indiana. And two more justices are likely very close to retirement. ( There is not a whole lot that we can do about this. The only thing that we can do is make a lot of noise locally.

Another scary truth is that this election served as an indicator report to some major issues that need fixing in our nation. This election showed that xenophobia, racism, sexism, misogyny and wealth politics are alive and well in this nation. At least these problems can finally be brought to the forefront of our mind. Hopefully now people will pay more attention.  Last week I was talking to my boyfriend about the disparity between generations when it comes to the news. One of the theories I had was that our parents paid more attention to the news because they lived in fear of the draft. Current events affected them more directly. We have been lucky enough to live through a relatively stable era. But if you are a living being that relies on natural resources to survive Donald Trump’s presidency will affect you in some way. This presidency will affect some more than others, there is no question. But hopefully this will serve as a huge wake up call to our entire nation about the potential of who is in power.

I think that another major issue in this nation was the media. This election was a personality contest. But the media is a direct result of its motivation. The media is motivated by money and ratings. It is a product of what we turn our attention to. Let us hold ourselves to higher standards. Let us shut off the TV when Bill Clinton’s affair is being discussed. Let us shut off the TV when Hillary’s outfits are being discussed. Let us demand higher quality information by filtering out the garbage from our brains. Let us step up our game and maybe the media will step up theirs, too.

I refuse to live in fear and I stand by this country however broken. Let’s use this as a leverage point to get more involved as young people. Love is more important than ever right now. We have no choice besides committing to optimism and involvement. Don’t be a hysterical American. Fuel your frustrations into positive changes, be tactful and passionate and never give up. America is so much more than one person.

Day 3: “…“rescued” from 20,000 ft on Mount #Everest…” #nepal

Remarkable tales of bravery and heroism told in real time.


Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 27, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575′

At Camp One, we were up before dawn, boiling cups of instant coffee and hurriedly packing.  It wasn’t going to be an ideal scenario, by any means… Being “rescued” from 20,000 ft on Mount Everest, along with perhaps 180 of our closest friends… But we weren’t likely to get any better offers… The Icefall Route that should have been a two hour descent to Base camp was decidedly out of order and couldn’t be fixed while the earth was still shaking.  We got out in the cold shadows in our down suits and thankfully saw clear and calm conditions.  Perhaps we all did have a chance to escape the Western Cwm.  It seemed unlikely that ninety plus landings and take offs -at what was a record breaking rescue altitude for helicopters only twenty years ago- could be accomplished without chaos or catastrophe… or at least unworkable delay, but sure enough, the first B3 powered on in at 6 AM and the great Everest Air Show began.  A fear of the team leaders was a helicopter mob scene ala Saigon ‘75, but we’d arrayed our helipads in a way that didn’t allow for mobbing and everybody seemed to understand the need for superior social skills on this day.  There was one way out and nobody wanted to get put on the “no fly” list.  Eventually there were four or five birds in the air at any time, flying a dramatic loop from BC to Camp One to BC.  A line of climbers with packs formed at each pad and a stream of climbers from Camp 2 made their way into what was left of Camp 1 and then joined the queues.  It took four laps in Kiwi pilot Jason’s B3 to get our team down.  Although it seemed already like a full day, it was only about 9:30 AM when Chhering and I got off the final RMI chopper.  There was no back-slapping.  No cheering.  No high fives.  We’d put down at the epicenter of a disaster and we could barely believe our eyes.  Whatever relief each of us felt at being off the mountain was quickly replaced with sadness and awe at the destructive power on evidence all around us.  Hearing on the radio about the quake triggered Avalanche that blasted BC did nothing to prepare us for experiencing the aftermath first hand.  It was as if an enormous bomb had detonated.  We each walked slowly through the obliterated camps, stopping to understand how much force had bent this or that bit of steel.  We finally understood the enormous death toll and the nature of the numerous injuries to the survivors.  When we reached our own greatly altered camp and heard a few stories from neighbors, we finally understood Mark Tucker’s heroism of the last few days, helping to stabilize and transport dozens upon dozens of seriously injured, bloody and broken people.  He and our Sherpa team had gone immediately to help others, even though their own camp was largely destroyed.  By now, we are not even mildly surprised to learn that they somehow found time and energy to rebuild camp for our arrival.  Our “ordeal” seems trivial by comparison… we had to stay a bit longer in a beautiful and legendary hanging valley and deal with a bit of uncertainty.  Now back down to earth… we understand just how lucky we’ve been and we are sad beyond words to learn how unlucky others have been.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Day 2: Expedition Dispatches from #Everest: “…we are not in panic mode” #Nepal


Follow link below to the audio


Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 20,000′

Dave Hahn calling from Camp One on Mount Everest 20,000’. That was a day of waiting and watching for us.  The weather improved a little bit, this morning it was sunny and clear.  And couple of helicopter and courageous helicopter pilots made use of that time flying out from sick and hurt people from Camp Two to Camp One.  But the big work that they did was trip after trip flying casualties out from Base Camp. We followed some of that on the radio.  Our efforts to get our selves out of here, two of our Sherpa team Wingen and Sunam, made a valiant effort coming up from the bottom of the Ice Fall, to see how far they could get before the damage of the earth quake stopped them.  They got about a third of the way.  Additionally, we were part of supporting a team, coming down from the top trying to do the same thing. They probably got about a third of the way down, luckily both teams, got out safely. There was a massive aftershock this afternoon at about 1 o’clock local time. But it seemed almost as powerful as yesterdays quake.  And we are worried, as everybody is, about putting people in the Ice Fall again.  That is probably not going to be our exit plan. And now we are looking to helicopter out in the next day or two to get down to Base Camp.  And that probably will be what we do, but the timing is still up to mother nature. If it keeps on snowing as it did this afternoon, and making flying impossible. But perhaps we’ll keep you updated. We’ll let you know how it goes. We are safe. We are in a good spot. And we are not in panic mode. Thank you.


Satellite call from Mt. Everest

Amazing audio turned into a blog this morning by RMI Expeditions.

Listen to it here:

Here is the text:


Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 25, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 19,900′

This is Dave Hahn with RMI’s Everest Expedition.  This morning, early this morning we got up from Camp 1, five climbers Jeff Justman, Tcherring Dorji and myself.We completed a good circuit, climbing up to 21,300 feet Advance Base Camp and back to Camp 1.  We were here about 11:30, 11:15 this morning. And then shortly after that, at about noon, there was a major earthquake and resulted in avalanches off of all the mountains around us.  Our camp was in a good place we got dusted but here at Camp 1 we were just fine. Our concern then shifted to Base Camp. We are hearing reports of some pretty destructive action down there, injuries and loss of life. Our entire team is ok.  We have talked with our Sherpa team down below and with Mark Tucker [at Base Camp]. And so our team is okay About the same time as the earthquake a pretty good snowstorm commenced up here in the Western Cwm and down at Base Camp.  We’re sitting things out safely at Camp One. But we don’t have the ability to travel right now, good mountaineering sense dictates that we stay put and ride this storm out.  This may take a little time, ride the storm out and that’s what we’ll do.  It may take this a little time but we are okay. We are self sufficient up here and our concern is with our friends at Base Camp.  We’re hearing the strenuous efforts that our Sherpa team and Mark Tucker are going through down there trying to help with the injured and the those who haven’t fared so well. We’ll try to be in touch. We obviously are in a situation where we won’t have great communication. It’s likely that the earthquake destroyed any cell service around the Base Camp area.  We are calling you on a satellite telephone, we got some batteries and we will nurse those batteries to make them last.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn


Heart and mind with the other climbers and people of Nepal.

No #AprilFools Joke, This Dude Got Arrested


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This morning, I was amazed and horrified to see a Parkway Police officer arrest a FullSizeRender (2)bicyclist basically for trying to explain why he put his bike against the railing.

This happened on a lovely, quiet Wednesday morning just outside the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, an old stone building that shares facilities with the Parkway Police in Alpine, N.J. I happened to be there, waiting for friends to go hiking. Just as I headed inside to use the bathroom, I heard an officer yell “Whose yellow bike is this”? You could just hear it in his tone… this wasn’t going to end well for the biker. A young man jumped up to claim his bike from where he had left it leaning against a railing.

IMG_0918Unfortunately for him, it was also close to a sign that said “Please use bike rack”. I didn’t hear what words were exchanged as I headed into the bathroom but when I emerged a few minutes later I was shocked to see this same young man getting arrested. I grabbed my iPhone in time to record the guy being handcuffed and led away as the same police officer said, “Now you can walk inside. All you had to do was stop inside, give an ID and  receive a ticket for violating my sign”.

I get it – the young man didn’t listen to the police officer. The point is, it never should have gotten this far. “Sir, please move your bike.” “No problem, officer.” Problem solved. What’s going on here? If it weren’t for that video of Eric Garner , I would never have thought to tape the incident. But I did and you can hear the tone of the arresting officer. You can see the non-violent, non-verbal biker being arrested.

It’s hard to imagine a more central meeting place for bikers and hikers in Bergen County – below is a picture I downloaded from the website with bikes and bikers everywhere. In fact, the bikes are exactly where this young man left his bike. This is a shared use facility – shared between the Police and the public. There were three bikers there that day and seven female hikers – hardly enough action to cause any stress to an armed police force.


Michael Lewis Did Not Discover High-Frequency Trading


Despite what you might think, Michael Lewis did not discover the dangers of high frequency trading. I feel that this needs to be said because at dinner, my friends were talking about Michael Lewis’ new book “Flash Boys” as though … Continue reading