Friday, June 29, 2007

The slackers are bailing out of the old work-place

Like rats from a sinking ship today. It's supposed to be beautiful out all weekend, and, of course, the Fourth is next week.

But, I'll be hanging out here. Might go to the Lake for the weekend tonight, but the wife was questioning that this morning when I told her it was cool out during my run. About 60: nice for a slow 2-mile jog.

I ran 5 yesterday and 3 Tuesday. Need to run 9 tomorrow or Sunday.

Last Saturday, I was supposed to run 8, but Laurie and Rosie went on a Girl Scout camping trip, so I was left home with Aliina. She woke up with me both days, so Saturday, I just blew it off and we ended up visiting two of the local parks, and Sunday I put her in the jogging stroller and pushed her for about five miles. You don't feel that thing for the first few, but you definitely start to notice the minor up grades after that.

We ended up at a park about 2 miles from the house, and after playing for an hour, I just walked her home.

I'm finally starting to drop some poundage. I took off about 4 lbs this week. Add that to 3 since the beginning of April and I'll be back to the weight I ran the Marathon at in another couple weeks.

Remember, I continued to lose weight during the post-Marathon recovery all the way into November. A sure sign that I hit the Wall hard.

Now that I know what that's like, I have absolutely no fear of it. Big deal! So I had to walk half of the last 10 miles! What of it? I felt tired for a month. Well, I felt tired for the month previous, too, when I wasn't running.

At this end of the training cycle I find that I'm recovering pretty quick. Part of that is because I'm studying magazines and books on how to train and recover; the other part is that the training for the first four weeks isn't as hard as the training for the last four.

Agh! I'm talking about running again. What is this?! An obsession?!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I'm going to hand out about a page of Mark Steyn's

America Alone, starting in the middle of the paragraph beginning on p. 97:
Reviewing the film The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Polly Toynbee, the queen of progressivist pieties in Britain, wrote that Aslan "is an emblem for everything an atheist objects to in religion. His divine presence is a way to avoid humans taking responsibility for everything here and now on earth, where no one is watching, no one is guiding, no one is judging, and there is no other place yet to come. Without an Aslan, there is on one here but ourselves to suffer for our sins, no one to redeem us but ourselves: we are obliged to settle our own disputes and do what we can."

Sounds very nice. But in practice the lack of belief in divine presence is just as likely to lead to humans avoiding responsibility: if there's nothing other than the here and now, who needs to settle disputes at all? All you have to do is manage to defer them till after you're dead--which is the European electorates' approach to their unaffordable social programs. The meek's prospects of inheriting the earth are considerably diminished in a post-Christian society: chances are they'll just get steamrollered by more motivated types. You don't have to look far to get the cut of my jib.

What? They must use that expression differently in Canada.

And yet even those who understand very clearly the nature of Islam are complacent about Europe's own structural defects. Olivier Roy, one of the most respected Islamic experts in France, nevertheless insists "secularism is the future." Almost by definition, secularism cannot be a future: it's a present-tense culture that over time disconnects a society from cross-generational purpose. Which is why there are no examples of sustained atheist civilizations. "Atheistic humanism" became inhumanism in the hands of the Fascists and Communists and, in its less malign form in today's European Union, a kind of dehumanism in which a present-tense culture amuses itself to extinction. Post-Christian European culture is already post-cultural and, with its surging Muslim populations, will soon be post-European.

Discussions of world events will be shallow if they ignore this book.

I've said that first generation atheists are thoughtful people and wonderful humanitarians who were convinced by philosophy and[/or] experience that what they grew up believing is wrong. But their children are another story. They grow up believing the simple statement "there is no God" and all the rest is "blah, blah, blah." The stories and explanations don't cut very deeply when they're not your own (especially when you don't tell them well - and hard). So I find his line here quite plausible.

The children take the belief and then what? There'd better be a helluvan ethical theory to latch on to. Relativism sure isn't it.

Yet my theory may also apply to any conversion - I've only noticed it in atheists. Come to think of it, I know quite a few apostate Christians for whom this applies as well. Myself included (sometimes), although I think the apostacy in my generation's case is a direct result of farming kids out to central government controlled education.

It's that Dewey bastard's fault.

BTW, my first post on Steyn's book is here.

Update on finishing the book: Steyn believes we should reshoulder Kipling's White Man's Burden, citing the literary arguments of Arthur Conan Doyle in The Tragedy of the Korosko.

Hmm. I hope we don't have to take that pill. I find it hard to swallow. I think I prefer the commentary on Kipling's poem at GMU. Oh! They have more!

Monday, June 25, 2007

As long as I'm hanging out with the Mises people

One of them, Roderick Long, has announced on the Blog a collection of Spoonerisms.

Ho ho! Damn, I'm funny!

No, Shawn Wilbur is scanning issues of Lysander Spooner's Liberty magazine to .pdf and making them available on the web.

I'll have to practice my speed reading on them.

Hans Sennholz has died.

February 3, 1922–June 23, 2007

Thats' a good website to study.

Here's what has so far. Apparently they don't can obits ahead of time, but it's a good speech Rockwell gave in Sennholz' honor in 2004.

Update: I forgot that FEE might have something to say about Sennholz dying. He was President there from '92-'97.

Oddly enough, Richard Ebeling's (current President of FEE) obit is a better read than the one at Here's the fun part:
Rising to speak at that seminar, Hans was soon hunched over the podium, a finger pointed at the audience, in what I discovered was his characteristic pose. He proceeded to explain the "absurdities" of government intervention, socialism, and inflation. In a thick but easily understood German accent -- that always had a great effect on the crowd -- he preached hell-fire and brimstone about how free markets and limited government were the only paths away from economic and political perdition.

In the evening he sat around with a group of the attendees and told us about his early life. Hans had been born on February 3, 1922, in the Rhineland area. He had been drafted into the German Luftwaffe in World War II and was shot down while serving in North Africa. He ended up in a POW camp outside of Austin, Texas. I asked him what it was like to be a prisoner of war. He replied that those were among the best years of his life. The camp cook had been a chef in a Berlin restaurant before the war, and all the meals were "wonderful." It turned out that he had some relatives who had immigrated to America in the 1920s and who happened to live in the area. They vouched for him so he could enroll at the University of Texas at Austin. He was escorted by a military policeman, who would stand behind him at attention in the classroom.

Then he went back to Germany (Marburg; I've been there!), discovered Mises and became a great economist.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Long lost friends and relatives post a comment here please.

Jonny, Jez, Gerald, Ellie, Cozzie, Tim, Tom, Willy, Pat F., Scott or any other old Superior buddies, or, goddamnit! Randall Sivertson, Carl Fish or any old UMD buddies... I want to f___in' hear from you!

I'm an INTP. That means that I can spend long periods of time focussing on things other than my friends, but it doesn't mean that I don't love them. Indeed, it means that I love them intensely, but have no idea how to express it. Often, I'm able to have fairly intimite relationships with people who can help me learn about whatever subject(s) I'm focussed on.

The people named here are loved intensely by me, personally, whom I have not heard from in too many years.

I suppose it's possible that you don't know who's asking. I'm Al Erkkila, or Alan Erkkila. My wife is Laurie. When she married me her name was Molinaro, but her maiden name was Wovcha. So here's where Google searches of Laurie Molinaro and Laurie Wovcha should end up.

And for all you Nazi bastards, that means that my wife and kids have Jewish blood, and I swear eternal enmity to you.

Update 5/25/2011: Whoa! Wonder how many beers I'd had when I wrote this?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Kid pix

Next door.

Government Too Big AND Taxes Too High

Both are problems. Feel free to publish your own analysis under that title or any variation thereof. Just link me.

Hell, you can rip me off completely on that one, but tell me where I can read it, so I can learn from it.

What I really want to see is a study of the tax burden on various "classes" before the American Revolution and after, in the various states under the Articles of Confederation not ignoring the smart or stupid monetary policies of each, and before the ratification of the Constitution, immediately after and five and ten years after. Once again, not ignoring smart and/or stupid monetary policies. And including government spending levels.

I said somewhere (speak up if you know where) that [oh, I'll quit being coy and go over to Grandpa John's and see what the H it was that I said] Capitalism is God's way. Of course, I mean pure Capitalism, not any sort of Government-assisted business. That ain't Capitalism, that's Fascism. As is hindering some business in favor of others.

I want a government that neither favors nor hinders any particular business.

Hey! Dave Thompson's got Forrest Wilkinson on!

Ringer! What a character!

He slips in two lines I think ya'll'll appreciate in his article "Salting the Record." [In particular, I mean. But no hillbillyisms: that's just me being silly.]
"You may as well have trusted Kofi Annan to hold your wallet for you while you went for a jog."

You'll have to read the article for the context of that one, and it's interesting that the context actually camouflages this one,
"I first heard this term from an attorney who was explaining to me how important it is to document your dealings in great detail. He pointed out that the Clintons are a perfect example of people who have mastered this art. He opined that their conscientious salting of the record is the primary reason why they aren’t salted away in a federal prison somewhere."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Vickie Oddino, who looks like someone I know,

has an article in The Atlasphere comparing The Fountainhead to Amadeus. [If you want to compare apples to apples, The Fountainhead is a movie too.]
I wonder about the fate of the generation of children brought up in a world where the contrast between the superior and the average, the mediocre if you will, is deliberately suppressed. A world with no valedictorians for fear of hurting the feelings of those who did not earn the highest grades. A world where no one keeps score and where all baseball players on all teams receive trophies. A world of social promotion in education to save a student from the embarrassment of being held back.

What does this teach our children about the best and the brightest? Only that it is the presence of the best that makes us feel badly about ourselves. And the only way to feel better is to keep them suppressed.

Excellent! You should read it.

But it pricks at my conscience a bit.

There was a guy in my high school who was stronger than I was. I benched 320, he benched 330. Not only that, he was three inches taller, stunningly good-looking, affable, built like a bodybuilder and lazy as the day is long.

I think, though, that what bothered me most was that all he did was keep just barely ahead of me. "330? Is that enough for you? The school record's 385! Come on!"

At our twenty year reunion, he looked like he could bench 530. Still single and virile.

What's he doing with his life? He didn't say. He didn't say anything important. I don't think he can.

Or, maybe it's classified.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Well, bleep! Somebody brought up exercise.

As to my beating 3-4 miles of running per day, I can't say that I have. I ran seven again Saturday, be darned if I remember whether I ran or not Sunday, did three Monday in 27 minutes, two yesterday and five today. I feel great today, so I'll probably run another slow two tomorrow and we'll see what I'm up to Friday morning. The program calls for seven Saturday. Sounds easy, but we'll see. (It called for six last week, but I look my seven mile route better than what I could come up with for six.)

I've been feeling the need to write all that down before I forget what I'm up to. "You" asked for it.

As to my politics, I've had to give up a couple things in order to be a whole-hearted supporter of Ron Paul. Temperamentally, I'm an open-borders guy. I've liked all the Mexicans I've met, whether they were here legally or illegally, but I see the Constitutionally consistent position in shutting the borders down. Particularly in time of danger.

I was rather astounded at the controversy that has arisen over it. I've been more astonished that it hasn't happened. Nationalizing airline security, and the attendant politicization of the screening process, has been quite a silly step as a replacement for that. (I'd rather like to take a plane on my trips south to see my mother, but I'm boycotting the airlines until they stop this foolishness.)

We've supposedly got 12 million illegals in this country, and, near as I can tell, about 14 of them cause problems. I don't consider the existence of a black market a problem by itself. I consider murder, robbery, rape and destruction of property to be problems, but they only go hand-in-hand with illegal immigration and markets because those laws are silly and having silly laws breeds contempt for all laws, wise or silly.

The other thing I'm willing to give up in order to support Ron Paul is a strong, active military presence outside our borders. As long as we continue to strengthen our intelligence gathering capabilities. We were caught with our pants down on 9-11. We need, to expand on that homely simile, to have the outhouse well-armored and armed, and we need to be able to see who's sneaking up on it.

I've always been perfectly willing to give up a bullying diplomatic stance. Trade should be free, but Free Trade is too often confused with coerced trade. All the trades between the US and other nations is between our individuals and companies and their counterparts in those nations, not between our government and their government.

Of course, if one of our companies wanted to trade with a government, I wouldn't stop them. Unless they wanted to trade a secret weapon to a foreign government. But, then that would be contractual matter with our military. "If you want our protection here, you don't give our enemies equal or better weapons than you provide your protectors." I wish that could go without saying, but you can still read arguments against Free Trade that seem to consider that thought a major trump card against it. To my mind, it's the only thing that comes close to an exception, and, at that, it's only a small part of foreign trade.

Here I thought I was just going to post a couple sentences about each of these items. I went and summarized the major points of my political views. As a believer in medium-short blog posts, I have to cut myself off now.

Hey, I got the bourgeois poetry thing

goin' on over here.

I need help.

I should capitalize that: Bourgeois Poetry Thing - "thing" being Icelandic for "congress." And don't forget that Congress is a pun.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The last scary book I read

was Richard Preston's The Hot Zone, about the Ebola virus.

I just got another one the other day and I'm reading it now. America Alone, by Mark Steyn. This paragraph from page 3 is a good summation of the story so far:
In the fourteenth century, the Black Death wiped out a third of the Continent's population; in the twenty-first, a larger proportion will disappear--in effect, by choice. We are living through a rare moment: the self-extinction of the civilization which, for good or ill, shaped the age we live in. One can cite examples of remote backward tribes who expire upon contact with the modern world, but for the modern world to expire in favor of the backward tribes is a turn of events future anthropologists will ponder, as we do the fall of Rome.

Perhaps I should also cite the passage in which Steyn distinguishes his own doomsaying from that of Al Gore, etc:
For Al Gore and Paul Ehrlich and Co., whatever the problem, the solution is always the same. Whether it's global cooling, global warming, or overpopulation, we need bigger government, more regulation, higher taxes, and a massive transfer of power from the citizen to some unelected self-perpetuating crisis lobby. Not only does this not solve the problem, it is, in fact, a symptom of the real problem: the torpor of the West derives in part from the annexation by government of most of the core functions of adulthood.... When the foreign policy panjandrums talk about our enemies, they distinguish between "rogue states" like Iran and North Korea and "non-state actor" like al Qaeda and Hezbollah. But those distinctions apply on the home front too. Big governments are "rogue state," out of control and lacking the wit and agility to see off the threats to our freedom. Citizens willing to be "non-state actors" are just as important and, as we saw on Flight 93, a decisive part of our defense, nimbler and more efficient than the federal behemoth. The free world's citizenry could use more non-state actors.

So this is a doomsday book with a twist: an apocalyptic scenario that can best be avoided not by more government by by less--by government returning to the citizenry the primal responsibilities it's taken from them in the modern era.

Steyn speaks my language.

On the other hand, I'm afraid he looks, at this early stage of the book, to be pushing for a big American presence abroad.

I'm willing to see if the "Surge" in Iraq works, but by "works" I mean, allows us to leave Iraq in the hands of the Iraqis, with no worse problems than we had with gangsters in Chicago during Prohibition.

Some interesting thoughts on prohibition here, btw.

And, as long as we're by the way, I bought John Stossel's Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity at the same time. It should scare me just as much, but I'm pretty inured to the picture he's painting. Actually, Stossel's main thesis is that we're too afraid of the pictures we get from The Media, so it's the antithesis of a "doomsday book."

Reading the two simultaneously will probably destroy me. If The Media report a nuclear explosion in Minneapolis in the next few days, don't suspect al Qaeda. They're too busy basking in the glorious demographic news from Steyn.

Laugh of the day:

You may choose to spend the rest of your life feeling under-appreciated and under-compensated, just as so many do. That won't get you what you want - but you will have the feeling that you're getting screwed to warm you up at night.
-- Michael Masterson, The Real Reason Your CEO Makes More Than You Do. [You can find it either on the front page there, or in the archives after today.]

Sunday, June 17, 2007

This guy's got a helluva good post

on Ron Paul. Here's a taste:
Seriously, in the last Republican debate a large segment was devoted to evolution – they actually debated their views on evolution as if it mattered. When it wasn't that, there was the question of gays in the military, why the terrorists will win if Republicans aren't elected and, of course, abortion. It's so painful to listen to, it makes it obvious why the Republican Party endorses torture – they wouldn't be able to give speeches otherwise.

I'm not sure what Paul has said about most of these things, but as for abortion, he's against it.

Here are my guesses [I'll just go ahead and project my own views, what the hell. That's what everyone else does in favor of their favorite party hack. Maybe I'll do some research on his views of these issues someday:
Evolution? I wasn't there when God created the world, so I don't know how He did it.
Gays in the military? Don't bug people with your sexuality and there won't be a problem. Don't ask, don't tell works for me, Al, and it ought to apply to straights too. [Paul probably takes the issue of sexuality and state the other way, actually, but I don't know.]
Dems and Repubs on the War on Terrorists? Don't let 'em kid ya, it's a horse apiece. Would the Dems even have attacked the Taliban? If they'd followed Clinton's example, they would have. And, given the same, incompetent intelligence President Bush got, they'd have probably attacked Iraq too. The libertarian prescription for governments is kill the guilty (well, depending on the crime...), leave the innocent alone. Dems and Repubs think they're hamstrung by the Constitution, but what we're really hamstrung by is about a 100 years of misinterpretation of the Constitution.

I'm actually very happy with Bush on one score: he's reinvigorated our intelligence gathering ability. Spies are absolutely essential to a free nation.
We covered abortion, that leaves torture: the Constitution covers that.

Mainstream politicians and career bureaucrats have been moving this country in the wrong direction since the dawn of the Progressive Era (and there were some awful mistakes before that, too). I do give Reagan credit for beginning to turn the ship of state back on course, and the Gingrich revolution for continuing the course correction, but we're not there yet.

Here's a funny line:

Granted, our burdensome tax system and heavily regulated economy does not make it easy on wage earners. But, that’s no excuse to steal your neighbor’s bike or run a pyramid scheme.

It's from an Atlasphere article by Allison Taylor about Bill Whittle's Ejectia. You need to have a look at that.

First I've heard of it, but it sounds PD cool.

Off the subject, the younger girl was claiming to be cool today, but her explanation was toddler gibberish, so I can't verify whether she was being cool or not.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I've gotten terribly lazy about Trackbacks.

Are they for your benefit, or mine. Seems like mine mostly, and yours a little, so I have trouble getting worked up over them.

It might be because the HaloScan process I use is such a pain in the rear.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You know, Liberty Dog's over there postin' up a storm

at Canis Libertas.

Apparently, the first Congressman I ever voted for, Dave Obey, is the new sheriff in town.

Atheist!! A-t-h-e-i-s-t!

A as in "not";
the-from theos: God;
-ist as in "believer."

Theist as in "believer in God."

It's not a GDSOB superlative!


I get so tired of reading "athiest" all over everywhere.

It should be too obvious for words that decisions

about who is to come into the United States and live among Americans should be made in the United States by Americans. Tom Sowell.

Unfortunately, It does need explaining.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Jeez, dude!

I'm pretty sure the guy who said, "Violence begets more violence, not the other way around" is not one of ours.

You know... I support the Marijuana Policy Project and your First Amendment right* to speak, but... When you combine the two, you make me want to exercise my Ninth Amendment right* to ignore you.

*Neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights are to be construed as "granting" rights, either to the people or the states. These documents simply enumerate powers delegated to the Federal Government by the people and describe some of the limitations of the uses of those powers.

Ron Paul on Patriotism

The original American patriots were those individuals brave enough to resist with force the oppressive power of King George. I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power. The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility, and out of self interest -- for himself, his family, and the future of his country -- to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state.

Resistance need not be violent, but the civil disobedience that might be required involves confrontation with the state and invites possible imprisonment.

Peaceful non-violent revolutions against tyranny have been every bit as successful as those involving military confrontation. Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. achieved great political successes by practicing non-violence, yet they themselves suffered physically at the hands of the state.

But whether the resistance against government tyrants is non-violent or physically violent, the effort to overthrow state oppression qualifies as true patriotism.

There's more, and he's quite blunt. You'll enjoy it.

Oh, I gotta put this in here:
Randolph Bourne said that “war is the health of the state.” With war, he argued, the state thrives. Those who believe in the powerful state see war as an opportunity. Those who mistrust the people and the market for solving problems have no trouble promoting a “war psychology” to justify the expansive role of the state.

This includes the role the federal government plays in our personal lives as well as in all our economic transactions. And certainly the neo-conservative belief that we have a moral obligation to spread American values worldwide, through force, justifies the conditions of war in order to rally support at home for the heavy hand of government. It is through this policy, it should surprise no one, that our liberties are undermined, the economy becomes overextended, and our involvement worldwide becomes prohibitive.

Out of fear of being labeled unpatriotic, most citizens become compliant and accept the argument that some loss of liberty is required to fight the war in order to remain safe. This is a bad trade-off in my estimation, especially when done in the name of patriotism.

Loyalty to the state and to autocratic leaders is substituted for true patriotism—that is, a willingness to challenge the state and defend the country, the people, and the culture. The more difficult the times, the stronger the admonition becomes that the leaders be not criticized.

You know how much I love Tuktoyaktuk

It seems all hell has broken out up there. The Ibyuk Pingo is in danger!

I got that link from Taranto today.

I keep forgetting that I planned to

put polished stuff here and unpolished stuff - as well as vignettes from my bourgeois life, including running, family and whatever - over at Bourgeois Philistines.

Oh, well, whatever. If you don't care, I don't.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I believe I'll work for Ron Paul this year.

Here's his take on Immigration Reform. That's from the Ron Paul Library, which has his speeches and press releases - I think, from his whole 30 years as a Republican Congressman for Texas.

RonPaul2008 is his campaign website.

There are videos of him on YouTube, a MySpace site, a Yahoo group and a MeetUp group.

Corey Stern, who calls himself an Independent Libertarian [I think I'll start calling myself a Revolutionary Liberal (c. 2007 - go ahead and use it, but share any income you derive from it with me. We'll let the lawyers hash out the percentage.;)], is quoted extensively in an article describing a MeetUp event Stern organized, and that I didn't get to.

I did get to the MeetUp organizational meeting though. A lot more fun and interesting than I expected. We had Constitution Party guys, Buchanan guys, some Democrat defectors and a bunch of libertarians, small and large L.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I think I understand the lefties' double standard.

I just sent this message to Dave Thompson on AM1500[.com].

I don't like it, or agree with it, but I see what they're up to.

They don't have any standards for themselves, but some of them know that we do have standards for ourselves. They think it's the funnest game in the world to get us to oust our heroes, past and present, by pointing out their peccadillos. Or, since "peccadillos" means "little sins," their "peccas." [You might not want to read that on the air. I've led you astray before.]

For example, they can get us to oust Thomas Jefferson as a hero, but they get to keep him, because they worship peccadillos as those things that bring geniuses down to their own level. Or so they like to think.

Of course, EVEN IF Thomas Jefferson was a sinner, it is no proof of the truth or falsity of his writings. To say so is to commit the ad hominem fallacy, better known these days as a personal attack.

Which is much beloved of Marxists, especially when they use the "follow the money" argument. One counter to that argument, as the Public Choice economists have shown, is to "follow the power."

There are, of course, other counters to Marxist arguments. Von Mises presents the best ones.

I wonder if C. Bradley Thompson

was considering what a strong case he was making for a Democrat in the Whitehouse and a Republican Congress when he wrote The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism.

I just started reading it. I'm sure he didn't miss it.

Don't miss Walter Williams and John Stossel

at today. Williams: Compassion Versus Realityand Stossel's Why Is Profit a Dirty Word?.

One more thing.
Ayn Rand Institute Press Release

[That's where you'll find this when they post it.]

Compulsory National Service Is Anti-American
June 4, 2007

Irvine, CA--There has been a resurgence in calls for compulsory universal national service, most recently by former defense secretary Melvin R. Laird, who declared, "Young Americans . . . need to serve their country."

But according to Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, "Compulsory national service is anti-American.

"According to the advocates of compulsory service, young people take America's freedom for granted, being more concerned with selfishly pursuing an education and a fulfilling career than serving their country. To remedy that, they propose forcing young people to spend a few years working in the Peace Corps, nursing homes, or soup kitchens. This, supposedly, will make them appreciate freedom. But if the government can order a young person to stop pursuing the career he passionately loves in order to plant trees or clean bed pans, there is no freedom left for him to appreciate.

"America's distinctive virtue is that it was the first nation to declare that each individual is an end in himself, that he possesses an inalienable right to pursue his own happiness, and that the government's only function is to safeguard his freedom. Compulsory national service turns young people into temporary slaves in order to inculcate in their minds the opposite premise: that they have a duty to selflessly serve society. To justify such a policy on the grounds of promoting appreciation for freedom is perverse. To call it patriotic is obscene.

"Compulsory national service is a threat to freedom. It should be condemned for the anti-American policy that it is."

### ### ###

Copyright © 2007 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

I thought this Student of Objectivism had something to say on this issue. He didn't, but he's not short of things to say.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Read Marginal Utility Is Not Rocket Science!

There's your economics for today.

You want to learn about running? Check out Training for your Marathon, by - and/or edited by - Jay Hendrickson. It's a 100-some page .doc ebook that the guy ought to be selling for money. His key point is: optimal stress + optimal rest = optimal progress.

The rest of the book is about what "optimal" means.

I love the quote he starts his "philosophy" article with:
"Take a primitive organism, any weak, pitiful organism. Say a freshman. Make it lift or jump or run. Let it rest. What happens? A little miracle. It gets a little better. It gets a little stronger or faster or more enduring. That's all training is. Stress. Recover. Improve. You'd think any damn fool could do it, even...

But you don't. You work too hard and rest too little and get hurt." - Bill Bowerman

[Emphasis Hendrickson's, I believe.]
There's a Runbayou blog as well. Though he hasn't said much since his kid won the 2007 UIL Division 1A Texas High School Tennis Championship in early May. Before that he writes about the Boston Marathon.

I know a guy who ran Boston in 3:45. But I haven't asked him about it. I've only talked to him once. That doesn't hardly constitute a relationship in my book.

You have to run a 3:30 to even qualify to enter Boston, but if you read Hendrickson's description of the race conditions you can see why a good runner (great runner from my viewpoint) would have trouble getting there there on that day.

The subtitle of H's book is "Information for the Obsessed Athlete." Does it seem like I'm getting there?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Oh, that crunchy knee?

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

My new Runner's World magazine has a stretching exercise that seems to have made that go away. Instead of stretching your quads by pulling your heel to your butt, just stand with your hands on your thighs, use one hand to help brace yourself bend your knees and lean forward slightly and raise one heel behind you as high as you think you should. Hold for a second or two, then do the other leg. 10 times/leg.

I also learned a foot stretch a while back that has significantly reduced a budding case of plantar fasciitis: sit down and cross one leg over the other knee, grab your toes with the hand of the same side and pull them back. Don't overstrain, but make sure you feel the stretch. 20-30 seconds each side, three times a day.

I bring these up because the improvements from each have been almost instantaneous.

Now for some sleep.

Kevin Hogan's in a rotten mood this week.

He's talking about the stupidity of boycotting Big Oil in the first article here (in the upper right corner) and, in the article about Will Power, he says
Want to give your kids powerful suggestions to succeed in life?

Never teach your kid get to "get a job."
Teach your kid to PRODUCE.
To make people happy.
To decide what they truly want and get them to commit to a Plan and DO IT.

I'll tell you this: I don't really know what it takes for me to succeed, but I know that the most powerful lessons I learned growing up haven't done it for me yet. These things he's saying weren't part of my catechism.

Well, I ran the Manitou 15K in White Bear Lake yesterday.

That's 9.3 Miles, for those of you who don't like metric conversions.
I finished in 1:28:35. One minute 25 seconds better than my goal. 9:31/mile.

Not bad. I mean, it's good for me, but I came in 19th out of 20 in my division - 108th out of 130 finishers (and 7 missing - there was speculation that they stopped at one of the dozens of garage sales that were starting up as we slower people went by).

Oh, here are the results. Let me find mine.... Here:
bib number: 302
age: 43
gender: M
location: Brookly Center, MN
overall place: 102 out of 134
division place: 19 out of 20
gender place: 70 out of 79
time: 1:28:36
pace: 9:31

I suppose you noticed that I was I little off. And, apparently we located 4 out of the seven missing.

Every time I checked my split-time I was pretty much on that 9:31 mark. I was trying to go faster ["...but my legs just wouldn't go any faster!" as J. Beebe would say.] No, I wanted to run between 10 and 8 minute miles, and I did. Now I need to push that closer to 8.

Of course, today I have a crunchy knee, but you take the good with the bad.

I gotta get ready to go here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

What the H does "serrefine" mean?

That's the word that Evan O'Dorney spelled to win the National Spelling Bee.

I had to wash caked on playdirt from the younger girl, so I missed the end of it, but those words are unbelievable. I suppose they have to find words that will knock those kids out, man, but I don't know...

Here I go, looking it up...
serre·fine (sâr-fn, sr-)
A small spring forceps used for approximating the edges of a wound, or for temporarily closing an artery during surgery.

OK, so there's actually a semi-common use for that word.

The girl was knocked out by cyanophycean. Wouldn't you be? When I write my dictionary, fancy words for pond-scum will be specifically excluded.

Cyanophycean is apparently an adjective derived from
Noun 1. Cyanophyceae - photosynthetic bacteria found in fresh and salt water, having chlorophyll a and phycobilins; once thought to be algae: blue-green algae

I wonder how long ago they found out that it was bacteria and not algae. They never give any history in dictionaries.