Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tonight's debate: this picture tells the tale.

Well done, Mitt.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Obamanomic awfulness: AEI's James Pethokoukis on today's miserable/miserly jobs report

Ingest the numbers at your peril. Probably eat and digest your lunch first or risk losing it. It's a Friday downer.

This was not the employment report either American workers or the Obama campaign were hoping for. A huge miss. It shows the U.S. labor market remains in a deep depression, generating few jobs and little if no income growth.

If only things worked out as promised by Obama and his Council of Economic Advisers back in 2009 (this graph has become a classic):

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Balance MT110s: On-road / Off-road superstars

I've become an all-out devotee to the NB MT110s and will offer heavy details of my experiences in an upcoming post, but I will say now they winners on almost any surface, from mud to concrete (I cannot comment yet on snow and ice performance). They've become my all-terrain shoe, having proved themselves over 100 miles, from the Boulder backroads (shown below) to the Continental Divide via the South Boulder Creek Trail.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"The world needs ditch-diggers too!" Thomas Sowell on "meaningful work"

Thomas Sowell's column today at RealClearPolitics cuts through the destructive snobbery around what is "meaningful work". Any work performed with 100% effort is meaningful, whether it's my own daily IT adventures or a man hauling trash. The entry-level, low-skilled jobs are not only stepping stones for industrious individuals in many careers; they also teach humility and respect for those coming up behind, starting their own climbs up the achievement ladder. You can tell everything about someone by how they treat those "beneath" them, whether one notch down the ladder or at the bottom. Whether a CEO or janitor, all our work has meaning if done with total effort.

In the real world, many things are done simply because they have to be done, not because doing them brings immediate pleasure to those who do them. Some people take justifiable pride in working to take care of their families, whether or not the work itself is great.

Some of our more Utopian intellectuals lament that many people work "just for the money." They do not like a society where A produces what B wants, simply in order that B will produce what A wants, with money being an intermediary device facilitating such exchanges.

Some would apparently prefer a society where all-wise elites would decide what each of us "needs" or "deserves." The actual history of societies formed on that principle -- histories often stained, or even drenched, in blood -- is of little interest to those who mistake wishful thinking for idealism.
Telling young people that some jobs are "menial" is a huge disservice to them and to the whole society. Subsidizing them in idleness while they wait for "meaningful work" is just asking for trouble, both for them and for all those around them. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Balance MT00: A minimalist in no man's land

Runblogger's recent post on the newest NB minimalist take on trail running lit a fire under my workaholic butt to give y'all more thoughts too on the MT00.

My summarization of the MT00 is it was a noble experiment on the knife edge of shoe design, but is a double-edged weapon too soft as a trail shoe and too hard as a road shoe. I thought it had potential on paved roads, but the patchwork outsole is its Achilles heel on all surfaces. Despite Zen meditative focus to stay relax and keep my ground impact feather-light, well-placed pebbles (not to mention larger, jagged rocks) between the Vibram tread sections through the EVA foam. Not at all pleasant and overall and unnecessary situation. I recommend NB revamp the shoe with a full Vibram outsole. It simply will work better despite the increased weight and will compete directly with the Merrell Trail Glove. This review comes from around 60 miles on the dirt roads north of Boulder, asphalt and the ultra-rocky Mesa Trail along the Flatirons.

The shoe is beautiful form, but falls short in function.

More comments to come.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Short blogging, short run.

A month into a busy new day job, blogging has been thin. Same to some degree for running. With 3 work days in Virginia and 6 in Switzerland in April, not surprising (managed one rainy 12-miler along the Limmat River north of Zurich). Not to mention I had to skip the SLC Marathon due to travel. Oh, cry me a Swiss river.

No fear, loyal runners and liberty-loving folks. I'll be taking politics and running at full force soon enough.

Got in a quick, too-hot late-morning 6-miler today in preparation for a likely 20-miler on the trails above Boulder. The Leadville 50 is approaching too fast.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Quote to memorize by de Tocqueville.

Today's is a lightning bolt zinger, well-known -- though not well enough known -- by Alexis de Tocqueville's from his "The Old Regime and the French Revolution". I agree with Power Line guy Steven Hayward's comment today that it defines the Age of Obama. It also underpins all leftist utopian dreams and actions:

A man’s admiration of absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Meager blogging.

Having started a busy new day job this week, blogging has been forcibly kept to a minimum. No fear. Ramping back up this weekend.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

25.1 yesterday and cheering friends at the Boulder Half.

Rough. That was a rough. Survived a favorite 25.1-mile route that included the east and south sides of the Boulder Reservoir, where I poked at a beautiful 5-ft bull snake on the path (similar to this one). I was a fool to start at 8:50am, as unseasonably warm temperatures built fast. I carry at most 4 10.5oz full water bottles on my Amphipod belt. By the end of mile 18, it was high-altitude time for a refill of every bottle. Managed to borrow water from an undisclosed location's water spigot just in time, but a bit of dehydration certainly took its tool. Felt the hurt hours later, but I'll survive.

Today was a recovery day and a chance to encourage friends at the Boulder Half Marathon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Salt Lake City Marathon on April 21.

This will be my second marathon, not including many training runs. After the flu wreckage of February, I'm fully recovered and training at full strength. Speed work. 50+ miles per week. 25+ on Sundays.

It looks to be a favorable point-to-point route with roughly a 500-foot elevation drop and a total 392 feet of elevation gain. If the racing gods bless us with cool temperatures and some morning clouds, I can finish below 3:50.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday and 25.1.

A healthy 25.1-miler yesterday morning. A jagged clockwise loop across the Boulder and Longmont back roads at the feet of the foothills. Early, thin cloud cover barely blocked the sun. By the time I finished left the Boulder Reservoir behind, the clouds lifted and temperatures reached 70F, with a light headwind in the last 4 miles.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dreams of My Pipeline: Byron York on Obama's Keystone XL charade

At the Washington Examiner, York debunks the White House boasts and bluster on Keystone XL and other pipeline construction across the US.

In coming months, Republicans can likely count on the support of more and more Americans who are more and more angry about rising gas prices. As the general election campaign begins, Obama will face determined arguments from Republicans that in his desire to promote green energy -- Obama will hear the word "Solyndra" many, many times this fall -- he is standing in the way of making America more self-sufficient in oil and gas. It won't matter how many photo-ops he stages in front of piles of pipes. In the end, he'll have to say yes to Keystone.

Obama is selling half truths and misdirection for undeserved political approval. In the end, his game will fail and political pressure will mean Keystone approval.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Surprise: Egypt parliament votes to expel Israeli ambassador

More sad proof of the dark, hate-filled Islamic radicalism that expectedly is dominating post-Mubarak Egypt. Where are the green shoots of the Arab Spring? The only green we see is in the Muslim Brotherhood's flag.

Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament unanimously voted on Monday in support of expelling Israel’s ambassador in Cairo and halting gas exports to the Jewish state.

The motion is largely symbolic, because only the ruling military council can make such decisions, and it is not likely to impact Egypt’s relations with Israel. But it signals the seismic change in Egypt after the ouster of longtime leader and Israel ally Hosni Mubarak a year ago in a popular uprising that ended his 29 years in power.

The vote was taken by a show of hands on a report by the chamber’s Arab affairs committee that declared Egypt will “never” be a friend, partner or ally of Israel. The report described Israel as the nation’s “number one enemy” and endorsed what it called Palestinian resistance “in all its kinds and forms” against Israel’s “aggressive policies.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Built on sand: ObamaCare and the individual mandate

On yesterday's Wall Street Journal opinion page, this brief though impactful analysis of the ObamaCare individual mandate: the true aims, the Obama administration arguments for it, the costs to the states and how the SCOTUS must judge its constitutionality.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fuel to burn: A smackdown of the American oil scarcity myth.

From a few days ago. This article by IBD's John Merline -- Scarce Oil? U.S. Has 60 Times More Than Obama Claims -- has made an impact at my favorite blogs, including HotAir. Save it in your personal files, as refutation the next time your liberal friends spout their party line on U.S. oil resources. The real story is a story of plenty and the potential for prosperity and national security.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

10.9 miles, evening sun and greening fields.

.A good evening for a run after a high stress workday. Temperatures in the 70s and a small breeze out of the southeast. Today's route included the winding, hilly and beyond beautiful Ouray Drive and Oxford Road, which are a challenging part of the Boulder Marathon this fall.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

W on XL: President Bush strongly supports the Keystone pipeline

I'm sure the article's title -- George W. Bush Says Keystone Pipeline Is a 'No-Brainer’ -- will receive a mountain of snide snickering comments from the left. So be it. Maybe they'll read this and recognize the clear voice of an American president who understands how to bring prosperity back to this country. The key is an innovative private sector, free from an overbearing federal government.

TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from landlocked Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast, is a “no-brainer” that would create jobs and bolster the economy, former President George W. Bush said on Tuesday.

The $7.6 billion Keystone XL line would generate private-sector employment and government revenue, he said at an American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers conference in San Diego. The U.S. government’s budget deficit is unsustainable and must be reduced by supporting industry, Bush said.

“The clear goal ought to be how to get the private sector to grow,” said Bush, who spoke during a luncheon at the conference. “If you say that, then an issue like the Keystone pipeline becomes an easy issue.”

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mitt is 0% redneck: Jeff Foxworthy to campaign for Romney.

Reported by The Hill:

In an effort to win over Southern voters, Mitt Romney will campaign with comedian Jeff Foxworthy in Alabama and Mississippi Monday.

Foxworthy, who is best known for his “you might be a redneck” jokes, will appear with Romney in Mobile, Ala. Later in the day, he will attend events in Biloxi and Richland, Miss.

Tuesday’s primaries in Mississippi and Alabama are a key test for the former Massachusetts governor, who is hoping to show he can win over conservative voters.

What Romney lacks in charisma he makes up for in proven ability to tackle a problem like the free-falling Salt Lake City Olympics and implement a successful solution. He will apply that skill to the dysfunctional federal government.

Beyond that, backing from the Blue Collar Comedy guys doesn't hurt his cause.

6 yesterday and 21.5 today

The weekend started with a throwaway out-and-back 6-mile run on Saturday. An easygoing warm-up for 21.5 today. Though I ended up starting late (especially burned by the daylight savings time change) and temperatures rose from low 40s to around 60 by the finish, lingering morning clouds kept the run mostly without sun. My body is built for a grey day in Scotland

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Plus 5: Latest Rasmussen poll shows Romney over Obama

Ed Morrissey comments at Hot Air  on Scott Rasmussen's latest presidential tracking poll of 500 likely voters. Key takeaways are:

  • Obama is down to his lowest approval rating (44%) since December
  • Romney 48% vs. Obama 43% (a dramatic shift from a month ago's Obama 50% vs. Romney 40%)
  • Santorum 46% vs. Obama 45%
  • Obama still leads Paul and Gingrich (in case you wondered)

As I’ve noted on several occasions, these kind of matchups are apples-to-oranges comparisons, as Democrats are already united behind Obama as a nominee. The internal divisions of a primary will handicap each Republican in the matchup, and yet Obama can’t stay above either Romney or Santorum, and now has dropped behind Romney farther than the MOE. When Republicans finally unite behind a candidate, this suggests that Obama will find himself even more at a disadvantage, and that the election still continues to be a referendum on his performance.

I attribute the favorable numbers, especially for Romney, to the growing familiarity and comfort with Romney among American voters and the much quieter primary scene. Time has passed since the last debate bicker-fest or or ugly mudslinging; this is benefiting the Republican field.

A truth deficit: Sebelius on Obamacare's costs

Deficit? What deficit? See the Townhall column by Kate Hicks covering Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius' Senate hearing charade, feigning ignorance of the crushing impact of Obamacare on both the federal deficit and Americans' likelihood of retaining their current insurance plans.

Is the secretary really unaware of these realities? Highly doubtful. I am directly aware from my day job experience with the federal bureaucracy and its mobs of bureaucrats; costs in terms of lost individual liberty and dollars are usually irrelevant to any federal project, initiative or law. Red ink be damned. If the money can be budgeted, regardless of the resulting debt, they will spend it in the name of statist ends.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Zero-drop onward March! 10.9-mile run in New Balance Minimus MR00s

The slow, careful transition from the NB MR10s to MR00s is going well. Fighting expected muscle stiffness that accrues around the knees, plus the occasional oddball pains in either foot. I am building muscle as I build a running future in these barely-there shoes.

A 10.9-miler this evening on the Boulder/Longmont back roads, into a sunset over the Colorado peaks. Temperatures in the mid 40s at start, down the upper 30s by finish. Light wind.

Late winter run : 10.9-mile run in the New Balance MR00s:

The slow, careful transition from the NB MR10s to MR00s is going well. Fighting expected muscle stiffness that accrues around the knees, plus the occasional oddball pains in either foot. I am building muscle as I build a running future in these barely-there shoes.

A 10.9-miler on the Boulder/Longmont back roads, through a sunset over the Colorado peaks. Temperatures in the mid 40s at start, down the upper 30s by finish.

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Balance Minimus MR00 (Road) Review: Surgery and slow transition.

UPDATE: After much wear and agonizing thought, I've rejected the MR00s as my preferred road running shoe due to the design flaws described below, along with others I'll detail in upcoming days.

I received them on my doorstep in late January from the generous folks at New Balance in Lawrence, MA. My first (with many more to come…is that a hint about the review?) feather-light, eye-catching, mind-snaring pair of New Balance MR00 running shoes. But with my first official 26.2-er – The Surf City USA Marathon – on the agenda for February 5th in Huntington Beach, CA, switching from the MR10s to the MR00s in a short pre-race time-frame risked injury. This proved true, as I found in a first test 6-miler. The design changes from the 10 to 00 are significant, as I'll describe below, and so expect some muscle fatigue during the transition. Slowly, slowly, slowly transition to the MR00. We are crossing into really minimal territory here, fellow runners, though not as seismic a shift as from a squishy, overbuilt traditional shoes to the MR10. A safe bet is the usual 10% transition of your miles per week.

The post title also calls out "surgery". No, not surgery on my calloused, size 12 Hobbit feet (hair on my toes). The MR00s have what I consider a design defect. Something fixable via an interior cut here and four snips there.

And now, like in my review of the MO10s, I'll cover key areas that stand out, as pros, cons and to-be-decided-after-300-miles-or-so. Having been pummeled by the flu this past month, my own MR00 transition and testing is a wee bit slowed (from 50-60 miles/week to a goose egg is shocking!). Hope to make up for lost time in March.

(B)lime(y)...That color!
The MR00s upper is a striking lime green with black accents. Either a bright spot in their day or a squirt of citric acid in every passerby's eyes. They make the blue and green MR10 look downright understated. In between runs, during my slow transition on the dirt and paved back-roads north of Boulder, I wear them around the office of my day job (I grab any chance to speed up my feet and legs' adjustment). The MR00s make a visual statement. "Dave! Those shoes!" As long as the don't get me in trouble with Human Resources. Who could be offended by their nearly day-glo charm? The thin New Balance "N" is a skinny, glossy black, as are the lacing grommets and upper interior. Also, on dark runs on busy roads, you'll be visible thanks to reflective, green bands visible below (thanks to my iPhone 4S's flash). The outsole is white and more green goodness.

Green bullseyes and exploding white stars.
My Rorschach Test description of the MR00's outsole visuals. Concentric Vibram rubber circles, strategically placed only where the New Balance Minimus design team's wear testing proved they were needed. Everywhere else, lightweight EVA foam. The Vibram circles together remind me of imprints by wet, bare feet on hot and dry concrete poolside in the summertime. You only touch the ground where natural form dictates. Definitely less cushioning than the MR10, but enough to protect from small rocks and the usual road hazards. Closer to barefoot feel, but protection from a hunk of glass in your foot pad.

Fab fabric.

The MR00 upper fabric is airy. Air passes through it with such cooling ease. Maybe too easily? Select your socks for the temperature range of the run I have yet to work up a foot sweat in these guys. Imagine a hyper-breathable sock with an EVA + Vibram sole. Honestly, I have socks with more weight and bulk. When your shoes release heat faster than your socks, it's new territory. The upper has a layered but more wide-open mesh core than the MR10. But do not fear. Dirt and the tiniest of pebbles are no more likely to weave their way inside.The only downside to the fabric is that the wide mesh is dense enough to be felt where it meets the EVA sole, along the inner edge of the foot. I cannot say it's uncomfortable, but it's noticeable. Let me know if it crosses that comfort threshold for you. Into the first mile of my runs to-date, I completely forget about it.

No tongue wagging.
A dramatic change in the tongue design. They went with a burrito wrap style non-tongue. It simplifies lacing and does away with the need to get a more typical flat, smooth and free of bunching that causes discomfort. On other shoes like MR10s, which have an especially thin tongue, I've had to stop during the first mile and readjust the tongue. None of that with the MR00s.

Lace with care.
Next, note the reduced the lacing holes from six on each side to four. I'd surmise New Balance testing found that this change resulted in simplified lace tightening without neglecting a secure fit. That has been my experience too. Plus, a tip: when tightening, pull evenly on laces or you'll get a few inches more length in one hand or the other!

I found this design choice a nearly drop-dead, do-not-pass-go, hard-stop deal-breaker. Along the inner side of the upper, the lace loop bands go from where they extend beyond the grommets through the upper interior down to the foam outsole. Four lime green bands, adhered to the liner, as the pictures below show. I suppose the purpose was to help secure the foot, like leather straps on sandals, possibly to compensate for the reduced number of lacing holes. Possibly, but I found them unacceptable uncomfortable. When the laces were  pulled tight, that force was concentrated through the bands, instead of spreading it across the upper itself (like in a more traditional shoe). The worst band was the one closest to the ball of the foot. I'm a compulsively tight lace-tightener. The tighter the lacing, the more discomfort. What to do? No fear. I dug out my trusty utility knife and scissors. An incision along the black liner just below the grommets revealed that the lacing loops are stitched firmly to the upper. Therefore, snipping the bands just below the grommets had no effect on lacing and immediately stopped that unpleasant pressure. In fact, I find the upper is even more snug post-surgery, with more widespread lacing force. True, how many wearers are willing to resort to cutting open their shoes? I believe in the overall design merits of the MR00. What's a snip or two in the name of shoe evolution?

Location of the bands.


The lower portion of the cut bands, adhered to the upper.

The upper portion of the cut bands, stitched to the upper below the grommets.

More commentary to come...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dirt road to recovery: 21-mile run in the almost Spring sun

Mid to late February was a battle to recover from the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach, a ski day with the kids and, oh yeah, the flu. Almost back to normal. Running is a fabulous measure of my strength. More fatigue during a 21-miler today than last January, but a welcome return to long distance.

Next race is the Salt Lake City Marathon on April 21st!.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Quote of the Day.

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”
- P.J. O’Rourke

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Newt vs. Charlie (and his White House talking points)

The King of PBS Late-Night Pretentiousness, Charlie Rose, did his best today on CBS This Morning against Newt Gingrich and came up empty. Rose regurgitated White House talking points while Newt stood his ground, delivering body blows with facts and rock-solid logic.

ROSE: Mr. Speaker, let me come to one final question. You seem to be, by saying that he- that the President of the United States is running over the Constitution, that he's violating the core- the intent of the United States. You seem to be saying that the President is not patriotic. You seem to be questioning the patriotism of the President of the United States.

GINGRICH: The President of the United States is patriotic in a worldview that involves the writing of Saul Alinsky, and involves a radical reinterpretation. Clearly, his czars were unconstitutional; clearly, his recess appointments, when there was no recess, is unconstitutional; clearly, the use of the U.S. attorney in North Dakota to selectively prosecute oil companies over eight migratory birds is unconsitutional. Again and again, this is a president who routinely only obeys those laws he personally deems fit. I think that his attack on the Catholic Church is unconstitutional. It's a violation of the First Amendment. Now, I think that's an important debate for us to have as a country.

Unpatriotic? Yep. As any good Leftist, he does not share American values as reflected by the constitution (specifically, a distrust of a massive federal government and a trust in the individual) and is willing to follow means that reach their un-American ends. As Obama said in this infamous 2001 radio interview, he believes the U.S. Constitution is fundamentally flawed document, without government "positive liberties" --- aka government-mandated, government-guaranteed freebies. Rights from government vs. from our Creator. Being American is sharing our core values, not just living here.

Read the full transcript here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Three Years Gone: The economic stimulus that wasn't.

Reported by Investor's Business Daily, the numbers are horrendous. Massive government spend.  Massive inefficiency on a never-before-seen scale, with no profitable return....except for those lucky ones sharing in this $787 billion payoff. A ludicrous waste, like my 5 1/2 years in college(s).

Perhaps the best measure of the success or failure of the stimulus, however, is the fact that President Obama in his latest budget plan has called for still another round of stimulus spending, this time totaling $350 billion over the next four years, for what is labeled "short-term measures for jobs growth."

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Balance Minimus MR00s: A fatal flaw?

I'm crafting a review on the MR00s after several 10-milers, hoping to post by Wednesday.

Preview: A groundbreaking shoe on the knife edge of minimalist shoe design, but a lacing design causing me unacceptable discomfort.

More to come...

Sarah Palin' s CPAC 2012 speech: A red-hot poker in Obama's eye

Delivered yesterday, like only she can. Romney may have improved as a candidate since 2008, but still nobody connects with a conservative audience like Sarah; passion, focus and a determination to win the battle for Americans' individual liberty. Maybe I should've left that Palin 2012 bumper sticker on my truck.

My favorite bit was her snarky cut-down of Obama's ludicrous, gigantic, government jobs plan (how many have there been?), which The One says is about "Winning the Future":

"WTF". I know...and I'm the idiot.

Commentary on the speech by Hot Air's Tina Korbe.